A handful of local punk-rock bands are pulling together for (comparatively) punk-rock Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. On January 18, those bands will host the bombastically named Bernifet Sanderfest: Get-Out-the-Caucus at Memory Lanes in Minneapolis.
Organized by Patrick Larkin of Miami Dolphins (the band, not the NFL team) and Addison Shark of Animal Lover, the concert/rally aims to induce greater participation in Minnesota’s caucuses during the 2016 Democratic primary.
Minnesota's DFL and Republican parties will hold their precinct caucuses on March 1, also known as Super Tuesday, one of the most important dates in the election cycle. As of this writing, 13 states are planning to hold caucuses on Super Tuesday, which means each party’s eventual nominees may be powerfully foreshadowed by the day’s results.
The Sanders campaign has garnered plenty of youth support, but young people often do not vote in primaries. It’s for that reason the bands behind Sanderfest are targeting “young U.S.A. residents” as one of their stated goals.
"Overall, the political process is a boring slog and most of this year's contenders for president are turds beholden to one thing or another, mostly private interests," the event's Facebook page reads. "Amidst that, Bernie Sanders represents one teeny tiny sliver of hope that could represent something other than the corporate oligarchy."
“Sanderfest” is an outgrowth of the free concerts Memory Lanes hosts on Monday nights, known as Punk Bowl. Its full lineup will include the aforementioned Miami Dolphins and Animal Lover, along with STNNNG and Xoxotech. If Monday night seems like a weird time for a concert, that's kind of on purpose, according to Shark.
“There aren't often competing concert events on Mondays,” Shark says via email. “And it's a popular spot for record releases and benefit shows, tour kickoffs, and other special events.”
Shark and Larkin and company have allowed their Twin Cities punk roots to show through in the tone of the event’s promotion, too. In addition to the music, Sanderfest activities include a game known as “Pin the Pimple on the GOP Candidate,” “abstract PowerPoint presentations by Xoxotech,” and “a limited number of free pretzels."
“The activities are a way to express what the political process sometimes feels like,” Shark says: “theater and absurdism.”
There will be more traditional campaign favors available at Sanderfest too, like handouts about the stances of individual presidential candidates, as well as voter registration and aid in finding caucus locations. All proceeds from the event will go to charity. Sanderfest has no affiliation with any political party or other political organization, Shark points out.
If Bernifet Sanderfest is a success — let's hope those pretzels don't run out — Shark says a second event might be organized and held in advance of the Minnesota DFL’s caucuses.
Bernifet Sanderfest: Get-Out-The-Caucus
With: Miami Dolphins, Animal Lover, STNNNG, and Xoxotech
When: 9 p.m. January 18
Where: Memory Lanes
Tickets: Free; more info here