By Dan Richter
For Hub City Times
MARSHFIELD — If punk rock is your scene — no matter your age — you may want to clear your schedule for Saturday. Dangerfest, a semiannual punk rock festival featuring 18 bands and set to last nearly 12 hours, will be held July 25 at Marshfield’s Chestnut Center for the Arts. The doors open for the concert at 12:30 p.m. and music begins at 1 p.m. Admission is $5, and tickets are available at the door.
“I wanted a concert scene that people under 21 could be a part of,” said Dangerfest organizer Steve Danger. “There isn’t a lot for teenagers to do in town, so it’s something I wanted to bring back to the area.”
When Danger attended Marshfield High School in the early 2000s, local punk rock concerts were one of the few things he and his peers could take part in as minors.
Those shows eventually faded away, he said, leaving today’s youth with fewer live music options.
“I remember not having a lot of money for concerts as a teenager, or they were too far away to attend, so this is something held locally and that’s affordable,” said Danger. “It’s one of the reasons we keep admission at $5. If you’ve only got 20 bucks, that’s enough to get in the door, buy concessions, and buy a t-shirt or CD.”
Saturday’s all-ages show features bands from across the Midwest, each group taking the stage for about 25 minutes.
Free Agents, a rock ‘n’ roll group from Wausau, has performed at every Dangerfest except one, said lead singer and guitarist Shaun Hoffman. Hoffman said the band is drawn back to the festival time and again because of its fun and easygoing atmosphere.
“Dangerfest really feels like home. It’s not like any other event around here, and it’s a great place especially for people under 21 to hear a lot of good music,” Hoffman said. “It shows you that rock ‘n’ roll ain’t dead.”
About 100 people have attended each Dangerfest, Danger said, with the majority of attendees falling between the ages of 18 and 30 years old.
Saturday’s concert will be the festival’s sixth and will feature its largest lineup yet.
“We’re not just putting on a show. We’re building a community,” said Danger. “Some people have it in their head that there’s violence at punk shows, but that’s never been the case here. It’s a very supportive and accepting atmosphere.”
Since Dangerfest’s inception two years ago, Danger has paid for the festival completely out-of-pocket, including renting the venue, designing and printing T-shirts and posters, and creating compilation CDs consisting of music by bands from the region.
Any money raised by admission, concession, and merchandise sales goes to planning the next festival, Danger said.
“These shows aren’t motivated by money no matter what the cost is to me,” Danger said. “If the audience and performers enjoy themselves, then it’s a success. That’s what it’s really all about.”
Chestnut Center for the Arts is located at 208 S. Chestnut Ave. in Marshfield.