Rob Castellon, founder of Whittier-based Wiretap Records, is hoping local music fans will once again take notice of the bands at his annual Attention Fest.
Though some of the artists on the bill aren’t yet household names, he’s betting that once people see them live, they’ll become fast fans.
“These are definitely bands people will want to know, they need to know about these bands,” said Castellon, who after a two-year pandemic hiatus is bringing back Attention Fest to Hangar 24 in Irvine on Saturday, Oct. 22.
It’s a free punk, ska and rock festival that will feature 13 acts that range from up-and-coming bands to scene veterans that are looking for a post-pandemic boost. They’re all bands that Castellon said are making exciting music and reigniting the post-lockdown music scene with their live shows.
“The goal of this is to get these artists just some face time, to get people to see them live,” he explained. “Once people see a band live they resonate with them.”
Attention Fest’s lineup includes acts like ska punk rockers Rundown Kreeps, a young East L.A. band that’s currently on a national tour promoting its sophomore album “RDK.”
“They’re a bunch of Latino kids that are really making an impact in the L.A. scene,” Castellon said. “These guys are really high energy. It’s ska punk with a reggae vibe and a Latin flavor.”
Even Southern California ska-punk veterans Codename: Rocky are on the bill.
“They just put out a new record for Wiretap this year and those guys still really bring it,” he said. “It’s always high energy and always a good time.”
There are a couple of bands from out of town as well, including Las Vegas-based pop punk act Mercy Music.
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“What grabbed me about these guys is the songwriting,” Castellon said. “I think the song writing is very mature. It’s not a standard take on love songs, especially in the new record they put out last year, they talk about anxiety and mental health and stuff; It’s a little deeper.”
There’s even a band flying in from Australia called Catholic Guilt.
“They are an awesome, awesome high energy indie-alternative band and who knows when these guys will be down here again,” Castellon said, comparing the act to groups like Saves the Day and emo legends The Get up Kids.
Other performers include: The Last Gang, Bristol To Memory, Wicked Bears, Odd Robot, Regan Ashton, Sweet Gloom, Upper Downer, Taken Days and Little Low.
Though the first annual Attention Fest took place back in 2017, the roots of the event began a year prior, when Castellon posted a song compilation on streaming services.
“The name of the compilation was called ‘Attention’ and it was a way to expose my artists that I work with, but also to expose all bands that should get your attention, that should get noticed,” he said. “It was a discovery playlist.”
It’s one thing to hear these bands via a streaming service, but it’s different to experience them in person, Castellon insists.
“The goal was to let people see them live and let the music speak for itself,” he said of Attention Fest.
For a newer band like Rundown Kreeps, there’s no better way to get noticed and earn new fans than by playing the music live and loud, said singer and guitarist Richard Lamas.
“Most of my favorite bands are bands I’ve seen live,” he said. “I really appreciate walking into a place and seeing a band I may have never known of. And we’re really happy to be part of this lineup. You’re guaranteed a good show. The bands that are playing are top-notch … and it’s free.”
When: 3 p.m. Oct.22
Where: Hangar 24, 17877 Von Karman Ave., Irvine
Tickets: Free for all ages, but must RSVP in advance at eventbrite.com.