Preview: Dazefeast

Organiser Badr Benjelloun talks about retiring his annual rock 'n' roll party

Why did you start Dazefeast in the first place?
I got the idea while I was at Yugong Yishan for a metal night with a couple of friends and the sound was so bad. It was horrible, and it was just like– man, this is Yugong Yishan, they should have higher standards! Long story short, we’re drinking quite a bit, and my friend says, ‘Well dude, if you’re going to be bitching like this, why don’t you do one?’ And by the end of that night the first Dazefeast date was set. I just thought – why not? Let me get together all the bands I know and we’ll throw a party at 2 Kolegas. So I called them up and said I wanted 18 bands to play, and they were like, ‘Badr – how are you going to pay for this?’ I told them, ‘It’s going to be a free festival.’ The bands would play for free, and they would cut down their prices as well because the only one that makes money off of Dazefeast is 2 Kolegas. I pay my own money for everything like the bands’ transport and so on. It’s a party, and I wanted to throw a party like I knew nobody else could.

So ‘daze’ obviously comes from your blog. Why ‘feast’ instead of fest?
I didn’t want to get into festival territory; I wanted it to be a party. It’s very much DIY – the bands pitch in, everyone pitches in, it’s a community effort. So it’s not a festival, it’s a feast. And I was also roasting lamb.

What can people expect this year?
The same party, just bigger, better and more organised. Also, this year I’m trying to roast a camel and a donkey instead of lamb. We might also have a few vendors in, who will just be charging enough to cover costs. Because if you’re drinking there for so long, you need a little something.

What acts do you have planned so far for this year?
Randy Abel Stable will be the only band that has played all four Dazefeasts, so they’ll be headlining. Bad Mamasan, Hutong Yellow Weasels (pictured), thruoutin, Jordan Thomas Mitchell is going to rap; Residence A, of course. I’m working on Chunxiu, Subs is 80 percent there, Wu and the Side Effects, Hanggai, Jiubao – I’m pulling all the stops for this one since it’s the last party. And we’re going to just burn the house down.

So why is this going to be the last Dazefeast?
When I started Dazefeast, it was in part because at that time there were so many interesting bands coming out that were not given the time of day. And then, within a year of me starting Dazefeast, the [local press] started writing a bit more about rock music. Fast forward three years, I’m just bored with the scene. People say, ‘You’re not writing much [on your blog],’ but I still go out to shows four times a week. I just haven’t seen a single new band that made me go, ‘Wow, this is a band I’m going to invest my time in and help them become something bigger.’ So just throwing a party for the sake of throwing a party – I’m slightly too busy for that right now. Until something else comes around.

Dazefeast will take place at 2 Kolegas on Saturday 14 June. See event listing for details.