Our Pick For Most Memorable Circle Pit of the Year, Punk In Drublic Festival
HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA
Awesome’s pick for circle pit of the year goes to the pit in the VIP section of the Punk in Drublic Festival (whose name was later changed to Punk and Brew Festival after a dispute with the City of Huntington Beach).
The Punk in Drublic festival was a giant shit show. Although it was advertised as a small show at a local wine bar on the beach, Sealegs, live, it turned out to be a massive festival with at least 40,000 drunk assholes sardined on the grounds, spanning what seemed like a mile-long fence line from Seal Beach to within minutes of the pier. With free beer samples from hundreds of craft beer vendors for four and a half hours and continued beer sales thereafter, how could it not be a giant shit show? Add in performances by NOFX, Bad Religion, Goldfinger, Strung Out, The Dickies, DI, and Ignite, and you had all the fuel for a riot rivaling the OP Pro, in 1986.
Huntington Beach is a weird scene. For outsiders, it may seem like the mecca for skate and surf culture in Southern California. While that may be true, it is also an alt-right, MMA driven stronghold, with a history of rioting, and asshole cops. The last time I was arrested was in Huntington Beach on the 4th of July in 1997.
Honestly, “All I wanted was a Pepsi, and they wouldn’t give it to me,” so I acted stupid and ended up in jail. My boy, Todd didn’t like it either, so he “lightly held” (and most definitely did not right cross/left hook) one (or all) of the cops arresting me and was arrested too.
Fast forward twenty years, and me and Todd are back in Huntington Beach, covering this event with a bunch of drunk, aggressive fucktards, used to drinking Miller light, but completely swilled on craft beer.
Although we had VIP tickets, it really wasn’t what you’d picture or what was advertised. The VIP section was scaffolded off from the general population zombies with barriers like Seasons 3 and 4 of the Walking Dead when Rick Grimes and crew lived in the West Georgia Correctional Facility. As a result, unless you stood on the barriers, you couldn’t actually see the stage or the bands. Instead, you were relegated to watching the show via the giant video screen directly in front of the VIP section.
Moreover, the security for the event was a joke, so anyone with drunken will was able to get past the two security guards with doe eyes manning the entrance.
So while the main pit may have been the most memorable pit of the year for some, since we weren’t able to observe it, we could not evaluate it.
The pit itself was a standard circle pit, maybe thirty-feet in diameter. It moved counter-clockwise, with a good flow and only a few shirtless jackasses, going the wrong way, chop blocking some unlucky, scrawny souls. As expected in Southern California, there were a few odd additions, like a giant dude in full gorilla suit, and the usual assortment of freaks and crackheads causing no harm, and having a great time. However, it was one woman we named “Iron Maiden,” (because she was wearing an Iron Maiden shirt) and was possessed by an Iron Maiden that made this pit ATA’s most memorable pit of the year.
At some point, before we first saw her, Iron Maiden had decided (consciously or unconsciously) she would own the pit on this day. By the time Bad Religion took the stage, Iron Maiden was well on her way to making such claim reality. It was during their epic rendition of “No Control,” that Iron Maiden, truly made her mark. Maiden’s modus operandi had basically been to pick the biggest motherfucker and pretend you’re in a WWE cage match with him. Throughout the afternoon, she had driven out countless dudes with her elbows, clotheslines, kicks to the ribs, chops to the throats, pulls to the hair, and whatever other violent action that entered her brain at that particular moment, like a multiple-choice test for sadists.
“No Control,” was her Dexter moment.
Throughout the afternoon, an old school bad ass in a wheel chair had been accumulating pit time. Most of the time, he was on his own; however, occasionally a bro would push his chair as fast as he could with the flow of the pit.
Somehow, someone let Iron Maiden get control of the wheel chair. By the time everyone put two and two together, she ran straight across the pit and rammed the wheelchair into the six-foot two-thousand behemoth. The dude in the wheelchair and the wheelchair went airborne. The friends of the guy in the wheel chair picked him up, made sure he was okay, and moved him off to the side. I didn’t see him the rest of the night.
Iron Maiden just continued and walloped the dude she just rammed with a knee to the spine and a slap to the back of the head. He turned to her in rage, stopped for a moment, and exited the pit. As he walked out of the pit, Todd asked, “Are you okay?”
“She’s crazy. I don’t know what the fuck just happened. I’ve got to get the fuck out of here.”
A few songs later, Iron Maiden got eye contact with me and zoned in like a sniper. It was like looking into the face of the Exorcist, except Linda Blair was only acting. Todd saw it too. “She just targeted you, bro.”
My asshole puckered. “I know.”
I froze, like a deer in the headlights. She looked right through me like I was a T-bone in a cartoon mirage.
Fortunately, her demon had ADHD, and she soon locked her sights on someone more foreboding…and destroyed him.
For the rest of the night, Todd would shout, “Iron Maiden,” and giver her coordinates by clock hands, “10 O’clock.” Fortunately, she never assaulted me or Todd.
After Bad Religion’s epic set, Fat Mike of NOFX would show up swear at your kids drunk, wearing a dress, forget lyrics, and chord changes, and spit on Stinky, the drummer. People started to leave, including us. We waited all day for this? What a shit show.
On our way out, a late teen girl, maybe older, stumbled past us. Some drunk assholes tried to grab and grope her.
“Get the fuck out of here, you little fucks.”
We escorted her to a bench, waited with her, and offered her some water. Todd’s a nicer person than I am in those situations. So, he continued to console the girl while I went to text my wife.
I moved off to the side and texted my wife that we were leaving.
Meanwhile, Todd stepped back fast. I looked up from my phone and saw the girl walking toward him with her finger out like E.T. She then wiped her hand in the sand.
A few moments later, her friends showed up and took over parenting duties.
“What happened there?”
“Shit show. You walked off and she was all ‘I think I shit my pants… I know I peed myself earlier, but I think I just shit my pants.’ She reached back into her butt crack, squinted real hard, pulled it out and started walking toward me. I jumped back, like ‘What the fuck.’ She looked confused for a second and then she squatted down and rubbed her fingers in the sand.
I wouldn’t walk that way if I were you.”