Roz Adams brings Everything Is Not OK back to OKC for its fourth installment. But will this year be the fest's last? 

click to enlarge Local artist and musician Roz Adams first organized Everything Is Not OK as an excuse to see his musician friends from across the country. Photo Gazette / file
  • Local artist and musician Roz Adams first organized Everything Is Not OK as an excuse to see his musician friends from across the country. Photo Gazette / file

Over the last four years, the annual do-it-yourself punk music and art festival Everything Is Not OK has transformed Oklahoma City into a global punk capital — at least for one weekend. Around 70 mostly underground bands from across North America will converge on the city for a practically nonstop run of shows over four days.

The fourth installment of Everything Is Not OK (EINOK) has been given the official tagline “I Heard It’s Gonna Be the Last One.” Local artist, musician and EINOK organizer Roz Adams declined to clarify to Oklahoma Gazette whether the subtitle was an official announcement or a clever marketing ploy.

“That’s a rumor I heard,” Adams said. “I can’t confirm or deny.”

While EINOK’s status for next year might be uncertain, this year’s event, which runs March 8-11, is a sure thing packed with shows across multiple local venues.

The main music showcase featuring eight or nine bands occurs nightly at 7 p.m. at 89th Street — OKC, 8911 N. Western Ave. Admission is $15-$20 each night. Advance four-day passes are available for $70 at ticketstorm.com.

Some headlining bands set to perform at 89th Street include Kansas City’s Warm Bodies (on Thursday), Minnesota’s Aquarium and New Orleans’ Patsy (Friday), California’s No Statik and Canada’s S.H.I.T. (Saturday) and a reunion of Chicago’s Raw Nerve (Sunday), among many others. Several local bands, including Cherry Death, American Hate and The Lamps, will also perform over the weekend.

Adams said it is hard for him to think of which bands he is most excited to see during EINOK.

“I’m excited about all the bands,” he said. “That’s why I picked them all.”

Other than 89th Street, there will be pay-at-the-door shows at Snug Bar & Lounge, 2321 S. Robinson Ave.; The Red Cup, 3122 N. Classen Blvd.; and Farmers Market District venues Delmar Gardens, 1225 SW Second St., and Warehouse B, a small DIY venue and shop just west of Farmers Public Market, 311 S. Klein Ave.

Visual art is also a major component of the festival. Throughout the weekend, guests will find visual art shows at Warehouse B, neighboring The Strange Exchange Trading Post flea market and art gallery and The Loaded Bowl, 1211 SW Second St. Adams said some additional art shows and venues might be added later.

Graduation day

Beyond EINOK’s mysterious Last One moniker, Adams said this year’s festival has come to be colloquially known in the DIY punk community as “Senior Year,” as it has now been four years since the event began.

“That’s funny to me,” Adams said. “I just think it’s a funny thing to call it. It’s like all the punks are graduating.”

Adams said he still remembers his own high school senior year — a formative time that helped instill his love for DIY culture. Adams graduated from Edmond Memorial High School in 1997.

“It was a funny time in my life,” he said. “I was a punk; I didn’t do my homework. I went to school, and my mom was my principal. She was a really good principal.”

Adams fully immersed himself into the local punk community as a high school student because he didn’t feel like he fit in anywhere else.

“I liked Black Flag and the Sex Pistols, and I didn’t like sports,” he said, “so it was the perfect fit.”

Big hang

While there are no big fundamental changes to EINOK this year, Adams said each year is always a little different. He tried to avoid day-to-day monotony as a general life rule.

“I think every day we wake up, there’s something new,” Adams said. “If you’re not doing new things all the time, well, you need to change something because you’re boring.”

EINOK was originally started by Adams as a glorified hangout for his DIY punk friends across the nation.

“It worked — all my friends came,” he said. “It would have been sad if none of my friends came because the whole point of it was just for me to hang out with my friends.”

That original goal has remained more or less unchanged in the last four years. While Adams is hanging out with the people he likes, others do the same. New friendships are sparked every year. The community also welcomes all curious newcomers.

“We’re always open to new friends,” Adams said. “[Canadian pop rap star] Drake says ‘No New Friends’; we say, ‘Yes, new friends!’”

Adams is still sometimes astonished by the fact that EINOK manages to survive — even thrive — each year. Sometimes it feels like a dream.

“I think it’s surprising that it all happened,” he said. “It’s surprising that it worked. It’s surprising that all my friends are still my friends.”

Then again, new daily surprises and discoveries are what keep Adams going. Spontaneity, he said, is the spice of life.

“If life isn’t surprising you, then go back to bed,” he said.

Self-sufficiency

Adams said the DIY ethos is all about taking matters into one’s own hands.

“It’s like grabbing the bull by the horns,” he said.

Whatever thing someone wants done, Adams said, the best way to accomplish it is to go out and do it for yourself. If there is a band a person likes, a good way to see them in person is to invite them to town yourself instead of waiting for them to come through.

“I wanted to have a music festival where all my friends came to town, so I did it,” Adams said. “It’s like that Kevin Costner scenario in Field of Dreams. You know, ‘If you build it, they will come.’ So if you want something to happen, you shouldn’t wait around for someone else to do it; you should do it yourself.”

Adams, at first, said that anyone who comes to EINOK should be prepared for the “most fun they will ever have in their lives,” though he soon backtracked from the claim.

“I mean, really, that’s situational,” he said. “You might eventually do something more fun. But do you like music? Well, we’ve got a bunch of it. Do you like fun? Cool, because that’s what it is.”

Adams spends a lot of time each day thinking about EINOK. The annual festival is up there with Christmas and his birthday among the things he most looks forward to each year.

While it might or might not be the last year for EINOK, Adams is certainly not ready to resign from the culture he loves or the many friends he has made within it.

“I like to make music, and I like to make art,” he said, “so I’m always going to do that.”

Print headline: Try DIY; Roz Adams brings do-it-yourself punk extravaganza Everything Is Not OK back to OKC for its fourth installment. But will this year be its last?

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