SAN ANTONIO, TX – There was a point in time when a large part of the San Antonio music scene consisted of androgynous fans fighting invisible ninjas in the pit while underage kids scrubbed furiously in the bathroom to get rid of the X’s on their palms. Amongst the haze of nicotine and dank, a community of girl-pants wearing guys and mermaid-hair girls rose. It was 2005, and clubs like Café Revolucion and The Sanctuary were filled to the brim with this community of mostly high school kids several times a week. In many cases, these concerts were local showcases with no touring bands on the bill. Friends in bands supporting other friends in bands, it was the kind of ego-less camaraderie that made the local scene so great. It was the same kind of camaraderie that was present at Something Good Fest, this past weekend.
In the last decade, venues have folded and been remodeled and renamed; local bands have broken up, reformed, changed their name and then broken up again; and some booking agencies haven’t prospered as much as more and more touring bands skipped San Antonio when traveling through Texas. Many San Antonio bands transitioned from scene queens and guyliner to coven hats and vape pens. Despite all of this, the people involved with the local music scene managed to press on in some shape or form. Never once did it feel like San Antonio had lost its scene. The punk and hardcore scene managed to flourish when more and more people started booking their own shows, however a lot of these shows remained somewhat niche in that they didn’t attract the wide spectrum of patrons these local shows used to attract.
Something Good Fest brought back these feels. While it is not the first festival of its kind in the San Antonio metropolitan area, it reinvigorated elements of the scene from a decade ago when I was in high school playing an out-of-tune guitar to a room full of angsty teenagers like me. It was great to see different local bands, not only watch other local bands, but show genuine excitement in watching each other. While San Antonio mainstays like Hydra Melody and Ready Revolution essentially headlined the fest, the stockade of local acts drove the day forward attracting a diverse crowd of families and tastemakers alike. It was a day that brought together different aspects of San Antonio into one avenue that allowed everybody to see what can happen when you collaborate.
The gentrification of Southtown and the surrounding downtown area has catalyzed the growth and reinvigoration of the San Antonio music scene. Where some business experience negative effects of gentrified subdivisions, Viva Tacoland provided the perfect locale that, while a result of so-called urban revival, manages to not only pay tribute to the heritage of San Antonio but also enrich it further. For a festival like Something Good Fest to use Viva Tacoland as a venue only extends the notion that this is something for and from the heart of San Antonio’s artists and musicians. Furthermore, the festival managed to raise food and money for the San Antonio Food Bank.
The first annual Something Good Fest brought an aspect of San Antonio back into the spotlight. There was a great turnout, which only indicates that this has potential of being a staple of the San Antonio art and music scene. It brought good feelings of nostalgia, reminiscent of days before they stopped allowing access to the silos at First Friday, when discovering great music has been under your nose the whole time extended beyond typing a few keywords on a computer. While the San Antonio music scene never left, Something Good Fest is a sign that it is evolving even further.