Jay Reatard’s Spirit Was Alive and Well at Gonerfest 2016
All photos by ALISON GREEN
Welcome to Memphis, Tenn., the blues capital of the world, not to mention the birthplace of Elvis, Al Green, Justin Timberlake and, oh yeah, rock 'n' roll. (It's also one of America's barbecue havens, but this is a music website, so I'll leave y'all to look into that on your own.) The Bluff City is also responsible for producing Jay Reatard, the guitarist who — prior to his untimely passing in 2010 — kick-started the garage rock revival of the early aughts.
Many fans consider 2006's classic Blood Visions to be Reatard's crowning achievement, but the rocker's impact is felt far more strongly in his old Tennessee stomping grounds, where his spirit lives on as the spiritual figurehead of Goner Records — the storied punk label founded in 1993 — and its associated hometown bash, Gonerfest. Now in its 11th year, the festival offers a blistering panorama of the modern Memphis sound, not to mention garage rock at large. This past weekend (September 29 – October 2), Gonerfest 2016 took the town by storm, with sets from the Black Lips, Nots, Control Freaks, Useless Eaters, King Congo, Trampoline Team and many, many more.
As you can see from the photos below, this isn't your typical festival. Gonerfest draws one of the most diverse crowds in the nation, comprising everyone from tattooed gutter-punks and badass Boomers to stoners and adorable kids. Relive the best moments from this year's festival below.