Posted Jun 24th, 2011 (3:35 pm) by Ross Condit
The Festival Review: B.O.M.B. Fest 2011 manman
Image by Ross Condit

We attended the third annual B.O.M.B. (Bring Our Music Back) Festival held at the Comcast Theater in Hartford, CT on May 28 & 29. This is B.O.M.B. Fest’s first year at the Comcast Theater. The mainly outdoor music festival was originally scheduled to be held on the campus of Western Connecticut State University as it has been the past two years; however, due to concerns over parking, traffic flow, and large crowds the festival made the decision to make the switch to Comcast in April.

B.O.M.B. Fest, which kicked off in 2009, is the brainchild of Frankie Bombaci, whose dream was to put up and coming local bands together in the same festival as more established acts. B.O.M.B. Fest is unique in that a portion of the ticket fees will be donated to help kids at The Hole In The Wall Gang Camp and Connecticut Children’s Hospital.

Headlined by longtime favorites Weezer, and Snoop Dog, the incredible slate of artists included the outstanding Neon Trees, Titus Andronicus, The New Pornographers, The Cool Kids, RJD2, Dum Dum Girls, The Felice Brothers, David Wax Museum, Freelance Whales, State Radio, Daedelus, dubstepper - 12th Planet, Coheed & Cambria, Best Coast, Wavves, Against Me!, The Felice Brothers, Health, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes, and many more, including about 25 local bands.

Musically, this was a great festival, but production, and other factors (possibly due to a late in the game venue shift) hampered the overall experience. InYourSpeakers rates all of the festivals we cover on a tough numerical scale. Read on to see what we thought of this year’s B.O.M.B. Festival.

Section One: Organization/Production

Overall, this was a fairly well run event, but there were some significant downsides. Many of these were more on the part of the venue, then they were B.O.M.B. Fest itself; however, they do reflect on B.O.M.B.

Leading these off were insanely high food and beverage costs - $11 - $14 for beer, $10 for burgers, and almost as high for other food items. Additionally, the idiotic policies on the part of the venue, a mixed bag of Comcast staffers with few being congenial, several being super rude and most not knowing what the hell was going on with the festival, and no re-entry (ridiculous for an all day event like this in my opinion) made Comcast a mixed choice for a venue for this show.

As an aside, guys – you’ve been using the urinal for a few years by the time you hit your 20’s – would it be too much to ask for a little accuracy, so you don’t have a slip-n-slide in the bathroom?

B.O.M.B. Fest’s lineup was a great mix of bands, with everything from hip hop to punk. The festival featured three separate stages throughout the Comcast Theater - the main stage in the amphitheater and two smaller stages. There were so many good acts throughout the day (some playing at the same time) that you might find yourself (as I did) in the tough position of deciding between which band to catch. I ended up deciding not to miss a thing and catch parts of each at different points. There were a few last minute lineup changes, which made scheduling difficult, but this is to be expected at a festival of this size.

TOTAL: 17/30

Section Two: Presentation

While many festivals include a high end presentation element that may include works of art, crowd sports/games, things other than the music to keep the crowd engaged, B.O.M.B. really had none of those.

TOTAL: 0/20

Section Three: Sustainability Practices

Here, I think B.O.M.B. was more or less under the logistical control of the Comcast Theater. Unfortunately, Comcast missed the memo on reducing its carbon footprint. There were bottle recycling bins, but that was about it from what I could tell. Additionally, Comcast had the ridiculous policy of taking the bottle caps off of the water bottles because, “if they’re thrown, they fly better with the caps on;” that’s a direct quote. Really, i+t’s a policy designed so you can’t easily refill and keep the water bottles for future use, and you have to buy more $4 water.

TOTAL: 1/25

Section Four: Non-Musical Entertainment

No jugglers, clowns, jesters, fire breathers, magicians, or buskers of any kind. Many contemporary festivals bill themselves as “Music & Arts” festivals, and almost all have something other than the music to do if you’re looking to kick back between band sets. B.O.M.B. Fest didn’t really bill themselves this way. There were little kiosks with trinkets, T-shirts and other clothing, an airbrush tattoo place, but otherwise not much other than eating food, and sitting on the hill by the amphitheater.

TOTAL: 2/10

Section Five: Overall Festival Atmosphere

The Comcast Theater is a super easy to get to venue with more than adequate parking, and ample room inside to house the largest events. Overall, B.O.M.B. Fest had a fairly laid back atmosphere, with a happy crowd of primarily young 20 somethings. While I thought the cost was a bit high compared to some of the other summer music festivals, it was certainly not outrageous at $99 for the two day (non V.I.P.) pass for the quality acts they had.

TOTAL: 11/15


Great performances by Neon Trees, Titus Andronicus, Weezer, RJD2, Daedelus, 12th Planet, Against Me!, Best Coast and more made this a solid festival music wise. However, there were definitely growing pains.

This was the first year for B.O.M.B. Fest at the Comcast Theater. The crowds were fairly thin, or at least that’s how they felt. I’m not sure what the two day attendance numbers were compared to last years’, but both Saturday and Sunday felt light, and relaxed, with no crowd pressure. This could be due to the size of the venue, or the event setup, so I’d be interested in seeing the attendance numbers from last year’s event.

Feedback I’ve seen on B.O.M.B. has been positive overall. The two main gripes I’ve seen were that the musical acts were too diverse, and the ticket prices were too high for the talent they had. It’s hard for me to agree on the talent quality level, I thought there were some very good bands, I would have liked to have seen more high level acts for the money I suppose, but this was a decent lineup. On diversity of the bands . . . as a music reviewer, it’s difficult to say that there was too much diversity, because I end up listening to, and liking acts from many many different genres. However, I do think that the average person who might like Weezer or Neon Trees isn’t going to like G-Easy. Someone who came for Snoop Dogg might not like Titus Andronicus, so for them to spend $99 may be asking a bit much.

Next year will be the fourth for B.O.M.B. Fest. Hopefully, they’ll change venues, (consider a campground), add more big names to the schedule, and include some non-musical activities.

Final Score (Multi-Day Festivals): 31/100

Bomb Fest 2011 Daily Coverage:
Day One
Day Two

© Inyourspeakers Media LLC