Punk and DIY bands from across the globe converge in OKC for Everything Is Not OK III 

click to enlarge Lysol during Everything is not o.k. II in Oklahoma City, Saturday, March 12, 2016.  Photo by Garett Fisbeck - GARETT FISBECK
  • Garett Fisbeck
  • Lysol during Everything is not o.k. II in Oklahoma City, Saturday, March 12, 2016. Photo by Garett Fisbeck

It might seem unlikely that Oklahoma City would, at any point, be seen as a pinnacle of regional and international do-it-yourself (DIY) and noncorporate punk rock, but Everything Is Not OK festival has turned early March into the local underground’s biggest annual celebration and homecoming party.

A massive ensemble of around 69 bands will perform over the course of four days March 9-12.

Roz Adams, festival founder and longtime fixture in Oklahoma City’s punk, music and art scenes, estimates around 50 performing bands will be from out of state, some coming in from as far as Canada and Brazil.

The main event each night is held at 89th Street Collective, 8911 N. Western Ave. Music begins at 7 p.m. with six or seven bands performing each night before the daily headliner.

This year, headliners include Wisconsin’s energetic Tenement on March 9, Brazilian layered goth-punk Ratka on March 10, relentless Texas hardcore act Wiccans on March 11 and the brutal, third-wall-breaking performance style of California’s No Statik on March 12.

An event as large as Everything Is Not OK III (EINOK) also demands multiple stages and venues.

This year, Farmers Market District serves as the hub for a lot of the activity, moving last year’s festival focus from 16th Street Plaza District in order to highlight a new area of the city to out-of-towners and locals alike.

Pay-at-the-door shows are planned for Power House Substation, 1228 SW Second St., and the former Sterling’s Grocery location, 311 S. Klein Ave., Building E. One additional show is scheduled at The Red Cup, 3122 N. Classen Blvd.

EINOK celebrates more than just punk and DIY music culture.

Visual art showcases are planned at The Loaded Bowl, 1211 SW Second St., and The Strange Exchange Trading Post, a storefront located in a row of garages between SW Second and Third streets.

In some ways, EINOK is a tangible manifestation of Adams’ many years touring and building connections in punk circles across the country as a member of various bands, including American Hate and, recently, as one of the many orbital players in the conglomerate band Cherry Death.

Nearly every booking he makes for the fest comes out of some kind of personal relationship he has formed in the past.

There’s no offseason for Adams when it comes to the fest. Assembling the event’s performance roster happens year-round.

“I work on it all the time in some facet,” he said.

Playing host

Still, running the fest is far from a one-man task. Welcoming dozens of visiting bands and managing an onslaught of shows at venues across the city takes a team.

Adams said EINOK runs smoothly because of eager assistance and support from the local DIY punk community.

“I think everyone wants everything to work and to happen. Everyone contributes, whether they’re playing or just watching bands and having a good time or hosting bands at their house or driving someone around,” he said. “It definitely wouldn’t be possible without all the people who live here and are extremely supportive and helpful.”

Nearly every out-of-town act on the EINOK roster crashes in the home or apartment of someone from the local punk community.

Adams, a veteran of the touring life, said most musicians are grateful for whatever accommodations a host can provide.

“You’re thrilled if you walk into a house at night and there’s hardwood floors for you to sleep on,” he said, “because at least it’s somewhere to sleep.”

EINOK admission doesn’t include a shiny laminated pass. Meet-and-greets aren’t exclusive encounters — they are an unavoidable bonus of the fest experience.

“That’s why it’s so great, because everyone just wants to have fun,” Adams said. “There’s no green room or VIP treatment. Everybody’s on the same page; there’s no heroes or celebrities.”

Community feel

EINOK is a big annual morale boost to a community Adams said can feel isolated, and the organizer has noticed more local bands on the bill since the event began three years ago.

“I like to think that [EINOK] has gotten people more excited about this grouping of people who make this music or this scene in general,” he said. “It definitely benefits it and gives people something to be excited about.”

Inviting in like-minded guests from across the map also goes a long way in making the world feel smaller.

“Everybody gets a solid reminder that they’re not the only people doing this kind of stuff,” Adams said. “They don’t need to feel so lonely all the time.”

Find the Everything Is Not OK III event page on Facebook for more information. Visit ticketmaster.com for admission to the festival shows at 89th Street Collective.

Print headline: Punk positivity, Everything Is Not OK III invites guests near and far for a shard of do-it-yourself music mayhem. 

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