The fest gets its name from the Web site cincypunk.org, which features reviews, news and interviews, focusing primarily on the Cincinnati Punk scene. Zach Zimmerman started the site in 2002, but in 2004 it was taken over by Adam Rosing, a then journalism major at Northern Kentucky University who was involved with the site from its inception. The site has seen its ups and downs (Rosing says Zimmerman wouldn't let him buy the original .com domain name and the .net version was met with a destructive virus), but Rosing's passion for the project has kept both the site and fest alive. Cincypunk.org debuted in May of last year and Rosing says it won't be disappearing any time soon.
"Cincypunk.org is here to stay forever and I honestly believe that, because even if I eventually move on, I'd like to pass it on to others who are passionate and believe in having a dysfunctional, but loving, community for the people, bands and music they support," Rosing says.
Though passionate about music, Rosing (who is 23) says he didn't really know local music existed until 1997, when he was handed a flier for a show at The Void. He was 15 at the time and, he says, "the intensity and togetherness of everyone at those first shows is what hooked me."
Rosing came aboard just in time to book Cincypunk Fest III at the Southgate House in early 2005, his first-ever booking experience, which he now calls "surreal," and "nerve-wracking." Rosing's first CPF was also the first to donate proceeds to a local charity. He says the third and fourth fests raised a combined $5,000 for Lighthouse Youth Services and the Mental Health Association of Northern Kentucky. This year's fest raises funds for Northern Kentucky's Women's Crisis Center (wccky.org). For those who don't know better, Punk is the most nihilistic form of music. But followers understand that Punk artists throughout time have been some of the most giving and socially-concerned.
"The perception that Punk means 'screw everyone' is definitely a misconception that is spread around due to ignorance," Rosing says. "Yeah, bands like the Murder Junkies perpetuated this myth, but I feel that overall the 'Punk community' is socially conscious. The Clash definitely played a huge role in this and it continues on today with bands such as Mike Park, Face to Face, Rise Against, (et cetera)."
The lineup for this week's CPF is its most diverse yet, featuring some local acts (thistle, The Terrors, Turnbull ACs) whose music isn't "Punk" in the traditional sense. Rosing says he feels a concrete definition of Punk is next to impossible to conjure, but, to him, it has less to do with a "sound," and more to do with approach.
"To me, Punk is staying true to yourself, playing the music because you enjoy it and occasionally sending a message of social awareness out in your music," Rosing says. "Obviously every band (on the bill) isn't Punk, but I feel that in certain ways every band on the bill is Punk Rock in one way or another. Thistle is the obvious example -- there is no way their sound is Punk, but the way the band conducts themselves and their (own) label is Punk in my eyes. They do things their own way. I have tremendous amounts of respect for them and feel that younger bands should look at them as role models and kind of strive to be like them."
A $21 five-day pass for CPF V is available through myspace.com/cincypunkfest. Admission is $7 for the Thursday through Saturday shows, which start around 7:30 p.m. Sunday's show is all-ages (it's 18-and-up for the others) and starts at 3 p.m. (tickets are $6 for those over 18 and $8 for those under). More details can, of course, be found at cincypunk.org.
CONTACT MIKE BREEN: mbreen(at)citybeat.com