D.C. Punk Fest Damaged City Returns In 2016, And It’s Going To Be Huge

By Ally Schweitzer

The fourth edition of hardcore punk festival Damaged City returns to D.C. in April 2016.
The fourth edition of hardcore punk festival Damaged City returns to D.C. in April 2016.

Since it first detonated in 2013, Damaged City Fest has become the East Coast’s Lollapalooza of punk and hardcore — and next year it returns to D.C. in even meaner, but not leaner, form.

Organizers announced today that Damaged City 2016 will take place over four days, from April 7 to 10, at venues to be announced. So far, 33 bands are booked to play the fest’s beefiest lineup yet, with notable performances from Japanese hardcore legends Systematic Death and classic California punk band The Avengers.

Like past Damaged City headliners Negative Approach, Infest and The Mob, both Systematic Death and The Avengers date back decades. But festival co-organizer Nick “Tape” Candela says he and partner Chris Moore “made a strong effort to include a lot of fresh blood and newer bands” for next year’s edition. Philly rockers Sheer Mag, French punks Youth Avoiders, straight-edge Californians Torsö and grubby Irish punk band Disguise are among them. (See the rest of Damaged City’s preliminary 2016 lineup, below.)

As Bandwidth writer Ron Knox pointed out in 2014, Candela and Moore deserve much of the credit for reviving the District’s fabled hardcore scene, and they’ve done it without tweaking the formula. In the purist tradition of D.C. hardcore, Damaged City remains all-ages and strictly DIY, aided by a legion of volunteers.

“[Moore and I] are the only two organizers,” Candela writes in a Facebook message, “but there are dozens of folks that help out with everything.”

Volunteers clean up, provide equipment, pick up bands from the airport and — critically — open their homes to out-of-town bands. That’s a task Candela says he’s happy to delegate.

“In the past, I learned not to let too many people sleep at my house,” Candela writes. “In 2014, I got home around 4 or 5 [a.m.] from cleaning up and found that there were punks everywhere in my house.” He’d been left with nowhere to sleep.

“I didn’t have the heart to kick our foreign guests out of my room so I just went back outside and slept in my car,” Candela writes. “Lesson learned: Don’t do that again.”

Check Damaged City’s Facebook event page for ticket information and schedule updates.

Damaged City’s preliminary 2016 lineup: 

Systematic Death (Japan)
The Avengers (California)
Sheer Mag (Pennsylvania)
Youth Avoiders (France)
Torsö (California)
Disguise (Ireland)
La Urss (Spain)
Obstruct (U.K.)
Blood Pressure (Pennsylvania)
The Goons (D.C.)
Eel (Pennsylvania)
Caught in a Crowd (Massachusetts)
Dame (Massachusetts)
Post Teens (Florida)
Rubbish (Florida)
Stalled Minds (France)
Busted Outlook (California)
The Pessimists (Brazil)
Sem Hastro (Brazil/U.S.)
Holders Scar (North Carolina)
Firing Squad (Virginia)
Protester (D.C.)
Depths of Reality (Massachusetts)
Firewalker (Massachusetts)
Drug Control (California)
Odd Man Out (Washington)
Collusion (D.C.)
Stand Off (D.C.)
Homosuperior (D.C.)
Radiation Risks (New York)
Bust Off (D.C.)
Kombat (D.C.)
Spite (D.C.)