Celebrating 10 years of Maggot Fest, Melbourne’s beloved punk throwdown

Celebrating 10 years of Maggot Fest, Melbourne’s beloved punk throwdown

Cool Death Records
Words by James Lynch

We chat to the guys behind the beloved event.

Since 2010, Maggot Fest has been a staple of Melbourne’s underground music community.

Each year, the festival has pulled together some of the best punk acts from around the country, each lineup now existing as a snapshot of the most exciting noise coming out of Australia’s underground.

With the tenth and final Maggot Fest just around the corner, we got in touch with Alessandro Coco, one of the masterminds behind the festival, to look back on what has become something of an institution for Melbourne music.

Despite its growth over the years, Maggot Fest came from pretty humble origins. Started by music journalist Tim Scott, the first year was just a one-off show and a pre-fest basketball competition.

“It was a bit more low key,” explains Coco. “Maggot was Tim’s nickname and it was pretty much a way for him to do a show for his birthday. He just wanted to throw a cool party and a gig and put it all into one.”

Things quickly gathered steam and by Maggot Fest 4, the brains behind Cool Death Records (Coco, Tom Bradford, and Moses Williams) were called upon to help with that year’s lineup, a relationship that naturally stuck.

“It sort of went unspoken, it just became that we were involved because we enjoyed it and we all worked well together.”

The following years saw the festival continue to develop and evolve, first expanding out across different venues over multiple days and eventually with bands from America making the trip over to play, an experience that Coco calls “insane”.

However, despite the opportunity to stack the lineup with bigger bands, Coco shares that one of the most rewarding elements of the festival has been giving emerging bands a platform amongst the heavy hitters.

“I find one of the big walkaways is people chirping about one of the smaller or newer bands – you couldn’t ask for much more than that takeaway, everyone realising how good we’ve got it in Australia.”

When this year’s festival was announced, it was also revealed that this would be the final Maggot Fest – however, Coco doesn’t sound unmotivated or disappointed. Instead, with the music community at the forefront of the decision, letting the festival go comes as an admission that the role of Maggot Fest is no longer as integral.

“Melbourne music is really thriving right now, so there’s less of an urge for us to present it,” he explains. “It’s a weird thing to say and I don’t mean to say it with any ego, but it is nice to look back on the lineups we’ve put together and what that’s done as solidifying this sense of the greater Australian underground. The focus is very much underground music and how vital it is.”

Maggot Fest 10 takes over The Tote, Bar Open and another TBA venue from Thursday November 31 to Monday November 4. Grab your tix via Oztix.