Extremity in Every Form: General Violence Conference
General Violence Conference, a passion project born from Utah-based musicians Spencer Anderson and Tyler Barrani and L.A.’s Anthony Gonzales, is a one-day, SLC-hosted meeting ground for the U.S. hardcore+ scenes. With nearly 30 acts from across the country (including a healthy showing of Utah bands) that straddle genre lines of straight-edge punk, grindcore, power violence, emo and more, General Violence Conference stands as one of the most radical and inventive music festivals in the city.
GVC ballooned out of an idea between Barrani and Gonzales to bring a small handful of L.A. bands to Salt Lake for a show. As they began working out logistics, the pair turned the five–six-band bill into a full-day, 22-act festival. “We know everybody, we know enough bands, we’re friends with these venue owners—why not make it a whole festival and just go for it?,” says Barrani of the event’s origins. Bands from both cities began gleefully accepting slots, and even more representation from across the U.S. heavy music scenes began signing on.
The first General Violence Conference took place on April 30, 2022, with daytime sets at The Beehive and an evening show at Aces High Saloon. “It went off surprisingly smooth, considering how overwhelmed we all were,” says Anderson, highlighting the benefit of the organizers’ shared history in the DIY hardcore scenes—Anderson manages the underground venue Your Mom’s House, and the trio share a wealth of experience in performing, organizing and booking independent shows. Equally important was the support from venue owners and others in the Utah music communities, especially Gunner and Jeremy, owners of Aces.
“We know everybody, we know enough bands, we’re friends with these venue owners—why not make it a whole festival and just go for it?”
Unlike last year’s festival, all of General Violence Conference 2023 (which features nearly 30 bands) occurs between two stages at one location, the Utah Arts Alliance’s Art Garden, and is entirely all ages. After a few false starts with venue acquisition, local promoter BeanKat (who owns and operates booking company Y’allt Entertainment) worked out a deal with the Arts Alliance for the festival’s current home in a deal that provided a lifeline for the festival to continue as planned.
Outside of providing a Utah-friendly wink, the name General Violence Conference describes the festival’s musical identity. “It’s anything heavy,” says Barrani. “Any kind of genre you can think of—that’s why it’s ‘general.’” While all of the bands at GVC share a tenor of distortion and aggression, niche sonic divides can often keep these acts from sharing stages. Barrani continues, “Ordinarily, you’d never see straight-edge bands or hardcore bands play with power violence bands. That everybody can be on the same bill and participate in the same thing in our community and for each other is really awesome.”
“Any kind of genre you can think of—that’s why it’s ‘general.’”
Top-billed acts include Oakland grindcore group Choke, Portland’s Rank and Vile and Cancer Christ from L.A. Barrani describes a crucial goal of the festival as “giving bands a reason to come out to Salt Lake and putting us back on the map as a tour destination,” but equally important is building a connection between these traveling acts and the extant scene here. Some of the finest sounds from the Utah extreme music scenes will perform at GVC 2023, many of them returning from the fest’s first year—the emo-tinged metallic hardcore of Threar, fuckskin’s anthemic noise and Portraits’ beatdown hardcore among them.
General Violence Conference takes a village of volunteers and sponsors, with this year’s edition featuring activist groups such as PSL, AAMP and Armed Queers Salt Lake City, food and drink sponsors that include Shades Brewing and Mark of the Beastro, and more. The General Violence Conference takes place Sat., April 29, at the Art Garden on 627 W. 100 South. Doors open at 11:30 a.m., and tickets are available at aceshighsaloon.com. Follow GVC on Instagram @generalviolenceconference for more, including news of a fall edition of the event set for The Beehive in November.
Read more about bands performing at General Violence Conference:
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