Bumpin Uglies Festival: Weekend at Wolfie’s Music Fest

Every once in an ugly blue moon, you hear music that ignites a new fire within you. For me, it’s been fueled by raw emotion and anything that finds a way to ease the anxiety of human condition pleasingly; angst that hope emanates through.. I hadn’t known that feeling since – I want to say those fond screamy emo (when emo meant something and wasn’t an ironic adjective) days of my youth.

*Insert a nod to the remaining inability to turn off any song from in/Casino/Out (thank you former members of At the Drive In – tried to be PC there) or When Life Hands You Lemons (thank you Piebald).

My proverbial hat is eternally tipped.*

Piebald, Early 2000’s
Pre-2001 perpetual cycle of break and make-ups among members of At the Drive In

Of all things perfectly comparable to everything this band stands for, I discovered the glory of Bumpin Uglies during an otherwise forgettable car ride, years ago. My truck was starting to die (:::This was when I still had the ’93 F150… sniffle:::) and after work I was getting a ride home. During a conversation about Streetlight Manifesto and Toh Kay, a band was qued that I “needed to hear.” It was Bumpin Uglies, and everything in life would now be okay.

Sometimes we’re just going through something, or a series of things, or anything, and music finds you that was absolutely needed. Bumpin Uglies was the catalyst I needed to dance myself out of a funk while knowing life would remain full of meaningless tragedy and near escape. There hadn’t been a new band I was in awe of in years. Independent artists, yes, ma’am. Lyrical geniuses, absolutely man. But a new band, it had been a good minute. And then… Bumpin Uglies

It felt great.

Not as great as it would feel to see them live. Twice. With this badass

“A billion cells all working together as one – create the warmth you feel when you step into the sun- our existence is a complete phenomenon- so whatever you’re stressin’ pales in comparison” 

Bumpin Uglies – Optimism in F# (Live Acoustic) | Sugarshack Sessions

The energy on stage and incredibly evolved talent of these guys is just ridiculous. I was not at all prepared for how magnificent the shows would be or how much I would appreciate the brass and coil infused performances with members of Tropidelic.

Full disclosure: my comfort music go-to for a solid 3 years had been Songs from the Basement YouTube videos (which remain great), preferring Hardesty’s acoustic recordings of Citizen Cope covers, and having some narrow minded expectations of the ska sector that the live show guaranteed.

I happily report that I was quite wrong with those predictions. Bumpin Uglies together on stage, and in collaboration with Tropidelic, have an incredible power. Not only are they each exceptionally talented musicians, but their on-stage interactions and reactions to the crowd are enchanting.

Hardesty’s fire is accelerated, to say the least, when backed by his brothers and with inspired delivery, ignites the performance with seemingly impulsive moves from the stage to the bar. All the while, a transfixed crowd singing along, swaying in awe. 

(If there is ever a comic book of your ventures as a band, The Brothers Ugly would be a solid take on The Brothers Grimm, js.)

A unity is found among fans, who come together online, in impressively dedicated fashion, to propel the prospering of Bumpin Uglies, at least enough to continue creating the music we’re all now dependent on.

Uglies Nation is a closed Facebook Group with early announcements, giveaways, polls, and ongoing hilarious banter; driven by and dedicated to BU fans who enthusiastically share their signature sounds in a creative fan-endorsement funding approach to ticket and merch sales that is absolutely working. 

Bumpin Uglies | punk/ska/reggae from the East Coast | (from left to right) TJ Haslett, Brandon Hardesty, Dave Wolf, Chad Wright

The proof of this power in numbers? Bumpin Uglies will be hosting their own festival in June 2019. Weekend at Wolfie’s Music Fest in Bedford, PA! Jun 13, 2019 at 12 PM – Jun 15, 2019 at 12 PM. More information about the event, tickets, camping, and all that goodness is on the Bumpin Uglies Facebook Event Page

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