By SAM SMALL
Returning for its 14th year, Bled Fest, a one-day pop-punk festival featuring over 60 artists, takes place at the Hartland Performing Arts Center in Howell on Saturday, May 26 from 11 a.m.- 10:30 p.m.
What originally started in 2005 as a pool party and small basement show, Bled Fest has now grown into a highly-acclaimed music festival that provides a platform for a multitude of local and regional artists of all backgrounds. Many of the bands, such as Dogleg, Hot Mulligan, Mover Shaker, Better Thoughts, and Retirement Party, feature a vast amount of musicians from the Troy area.
Chicago-based Retirement Party features 2016 Troy Athens alum Avery Springer on lead vocals. Springer is currently a junior at Columbia studying music business. In the midst of constant summer touring, their new album, Somewhat Literate, written primarily by Springer, will be released May 25 through Counter Intuitive Records.
We had an opportunity to talk to Springer and ask him about his roots in Troy, the band’s forthcoming album, and their set at Bled Fest.
GAZETTE: What was it like moving from Troy to a huge city like Chicago? Did you find it hard to adjust?
SPRINGER: I adjusted pretty quickly, it was definitely a big move to make two weeks after high school graduation. I didn’t know many people in the city but started going to shows constantly and very quickly met all of my friends in the city. Now I can’t imagine anywhere but Chicago being home.
How was Retirement Party formed?
I really only knew one other person in Chicago when I moved here, so we decided to start a band. We got a guitarist and drummer together just based on who he knew, and the rest is history. We practiced once together and I informed the band that I had already booked studio time for a month later. I barely knew the people I was playing with at the time but we quickly all became best friends and it couldn’t have worked out better.
In your new single “Passion Fruit Tea,” you mention becoming overwhelmingly aware of your jump into adulthood. Looking back, how has the local community prepared you for this jump?
Troy was a great place to grow up. But I think more than anything, learning early on that you have to work for what you want makes the jump to adulthood easier. I wasn’t handed everything growing up and certain experiences in high school, like my Innovations class, taught me you have to work for what you want. No one is going to pay rent for you or make your band famous. That song is a lot about music as a hobby versus a career. It’s about me being self-aware and just happy that I can play music in any capacity. Basically, the biggest thing I was taught growing up was that you have to be a self-starter; you have to work for what you want.
What’s it like playing at Bled Fest with other Troy and Rochester alumni, such as members of Dogleg, Hot Mulligan, Mover Shaker, Better Thoughts?
It’s a big homecoming experience to play Bled Fest. I attended when I lived in Michigan and applied to play with my bands as a local. I am ecstatic and honored that my opportunity to play Bled Fest is as an out of town band. So many of my friends and the people that I grew up with in the Michigan music scene are playing and it’s just going to be a whole day of being proud of all of my friends. I’m especially excited to see and play with Dogleg because those guys are some of my earliest friends in music. Their drummer, Parker Grissom, was actually in my first band with me (Reptar on Ice). So even though we’re an out of town band playing the festival, it’s going to feel just like being home.
Listen to Retirement Party at retirementparty.bandcamp.com. Tickets to Bled Fest are $35 and can be purchased at bledfest.com.