Rocking Out with Founders of Angst Fest

Megan Schoeneweis /  Staff Writer & Photo Editor 

(Photo Credit: Abigail Bankes)

On March 30, five bands gathered together in Johnston Gym on Geneva College’s campus from 6:30 to 10 p.m. to put on their annual Angst Fest show. 

Angst Fest is a music festival that began in 2015 with Geneva alumni, Ian Miller and Zack Bowman. Miller, who has had the opportunity to attend all five of the annual Angst Fest shows and perform in the first three, said, “Angst Fest was originally just a tongue-in-cheek end of the year punk show. The point was to get as many people to Johnston Gym as possible to rock out. Pretty straightforward… Part of the point was always to showcase local music and songwriters. We really wanted to keep things local and showcase the talent that was around Beaver Falls/Geneva specifically.” 

According to Matthew Prepelka, a 2017 Geneva alumnus and three time attender/performer of Angst Fest, the festival “was just a gig for local, small boy musicians. It was called Angst Fest because most of the music that they were writing was filled with just turmoil. Hence the name.” However, Prepelka believes that it has grown to become more than that.  

Prepelka experienced his first real band performance at Angst Fest’s first show in 2015. It was a space in time where he was finally able to validate what he was doing in the music world. When comparing his nerves in his first performance to now, they were through the roof. Angst Fest really started something within him that he is pleased to see other young band members experiencing as well.  

Angst Fest holds a special place in Miller and Prepelka’s hearts. Miller said, “Angst Fest is really special because of the energy. Despite the name, it’s always so fun and supportive each year. It’s rare to see a local show get so many people, and for the crowd to be so into it. It’s been awesome to see so many talented bands go through there over the years.” 

The set list for Angst Fest 2019 consisted of Windchimes, Real Face, AKID, Far From None, and A Moment in Pompeii. Each of these bands have some sort of relation to Geneva College. Prepelka said, “there was a lot of talent there. I saw some kids play that have gotten exponentially better since the first time I saw them play; I saw a lot of growth.” 

According to Prepelka, people should continue attending Angst Fest to see the different kinds of local talent. A lot of what you will hear is unique to anything else out there in the music world.   

As a founder of Angst Fest, Miller said, “It’s just really, really fun. I think it’s cool how we were able to start a big event just because we wanted to. In our entertainment filled world, we rely on so many things to keep us occupied. It’s like…if you want to make something happen, do it. No one was going to make Angst Fest if we didn’t, and people have made so many good memories and have been exposed to so much good music because of it. And I guess I think that’s something worth keeping around.”