When musician Chuck Coffey answered a phone call from his friend Ryan Young, he wasn't planning on organizing a festival. But when Young mentioned he'd be in town for the weekend, the two decided to play some concerts.
The result: Anxious Little Friends Fest, a two-day festival at the hi-dive thrown by Coffey's Denver-based record label, Snappy Little Numbers, and Young's Minneapolis-based label, Anxious and Angry. Coffey’s band SPELLS and Young’s band Off With Their Heads will perform each night.
“Basically, the impetus was we were going to get bands from each of our labels to play, and it turned out that most of his bands beside his own and SPELLS couldn’t do it," Coffey says. "So, we got bands that have either already put out records with me or will put records out in the future to round out the lineup each night.”
Along with SPELLS and Off With Their Heads, the lineup includes Riverboat Gamblers, Dirty Few, BlackDots, Hooper, and Modern Goon on Friday, and The Bollweevils, Friends of Cesar Romero, Lawsuit Models, Great American House Fire, and Bad Year on day two.
As a companion to the weekend, Snappy Little Numbers has put out a compilation of the performers for people either wanting memorabilia from the weekend or wanting to become more familiar with the acts. A portion of the proceeds will also be donated to the Denver nonprofit refugee outreach organization Project Worthmore.
“I thought it was a fun companion piece for people that aren’t familiar with all the bands," says Coffey. "It’s an affordable way to have something to collect and get more familiar with all the bands, and a portion of the proceeds will go to a charity called Project Worthmore, which does work with refugees. It just felt like a good fit.”
This isn’t Coffey’s first time working with Project Worthmore, and it's unlikely to be his last. After meeting co-founders Frank and Carolyn Anello through a marathon that took place in the mountains, he has stayed in touch with the organization.
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“Usually every recording session, SPELLS does a charity download where it’s an exclusive track you can get through our Bandcamp, and it’s just donation-based, and whatever money we get we pick a charity for it to go to. When I heard Frank and Carolyn were doing Project Worthmore, I emailed [Frank] and asked to learn more about it and asked him if it’d be okay to do a song for them.”
As part of their planned performances for the weekend, SPELLS will perform older material the first night and two new tracks the following night, and for one of their performances, Off With Their Heads will perform its record From the Bottom to celebrate the band's ten-year-anniversary.
Though Coffey initially played down his band’s importance in the weekend, it only feels right that he and Young will both play each night. It is, after all, about one friend coming to visit another for a weekend.