PureHoney’s publisher talks Bumblefest Music Festival and the wonders and challenges of print ‘zines

September 13, 2016

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This weekend, PureHoney, our favorite South Florida-based, independent, grassroots entertainment ‘zine, will celebrate its fifth anniversary with an expansion of its usual anniversary party into a full-fledged music festival: Bumblefest. PureHoney publisher Steve Rullman says he is taking the ‘zine’s usual anniversary to the “next level.” Instead of two stages there will be five. Instead one venue there are now four, and instead of 10 bands, there will be 24.

“I’ve assisted with many others, but this is the first ‘festival,’ per se with respect to PureHoney,” he explains. “We have had anniversary parties each year, and they’ve gotten bigger and bigger, but this is the first year that we’ve placed five stages in multiple locations.”

Headlining the fest is Pennsylvania-based psych-rock/dream-pop/shoegaze trio The Stargazer Lilies. All the other bands are pretty much South Florida-based and almost evenly represent the tri-county area of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach. The bands/musicians are as follows:

  • Armageddon Man
  • Bleubird
  • Chaucer
  • Celebratorrrrrr
  • Cog Nomen
  • Dan Bonebrake
  • The Dewars
  • Fat Sun
  • John Ralston
  • Keith Welsh
  • Lindsey Mills & the Lazy Lovers
  • Mo’Booty
  • Other Body
  • Peyote Coyote
  • Pocket of Lollipops
  • Problem Child
  • Rivers
  • Similar Prisoners
  • Sweet Bronco
  • Tree Swifts
  • Wallace
  • Whiskey Wasps

It’s a pretty even sampling from all areas of South Florida, as five bands are from Miami-Dade County, seven from Broward and 10 Palm Beach County. The experimental pop duo The Dewars were once from West Palm but have since moved to Gainesville, so you can consider them an honorary West Palm band.

Rullman admits he’s excited to have The Stargazer Lilies, who are on a Florida tour, headline the festival. “It’s been at least two years since they were in South Florida with The Casket Girls,” he notes, continuing that to say he is into just enjoying the show as an observer and seeing some local acts he has never had a chance to see live. “I’m especially curious to see a few bands that I have somehow not yet seen perform live: Bleubird, Armageddon Man and Other Body — rather certain they are going to blow minds.”

Full disclosure, this writer has often contributed to PureHoney, and they have given Independent Ethos co-sponsorship credit for the event. “It’s all about community,” as Rullman likes to say.

PureHoney has always been a great partnership for us, as we have expanded on PureHoney stories here and celebrate that can-do independent spirit that PureHoney also embodies. There are few entertainment ‘zines that publish and distribute free publications to venues, shops and cafes anymore. This writer used to contribute to those sort of publications about 20 years ago, which often gave press to local bands or lesser known visiting indie bands who would otherwise go ignored, so I understand the inspiration for Rullman.

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In the world of mobile devices, Rullman also sees his print publication, which has a digital component in both a website and a PDF of the magazine, as satisfying a human need. “Digitally, we are bombarded with too much information daily,” he says. “So much clutter. A simple paper with a beautiful poster inside and free downloadable music makes all the sense in the world. An exhilarating escape from the rushing tumble of the digital universe. Yoga for your peepers.”

It’s true. One of the benefits of paper, is the lack of pop-up ads and click bait, which pry readers’ attention away from smooth, engrossing reads.

When he began the ‘zine, Rullman would drive around South Florida from the Central East Coast to South Florida, covering hundreds of miles to hand deliver printed copies, which always featured unique cover art by local and sometimes national artists and included a unique poster inside, usually by the cover artist. Now, he’s grateful to have help from other local musicians who have an interest in distributing the papers. “Thank god for these folks!” he declares.

So it truly is about community for this guy. “I couldn’t do this without participation from some of the best writers in the area,” he says. “Each month we choose and assign stories and generally speaking, they always hit the deadline. Absolutely thankful to those who have contributed in some manner over the years. I am constantly approached by persons who wish to contribute — photos, writing, internship, etc. As a necessity, underfunded projects like PureHoney require community, friendship and teamwork.”

Hans Morgenstern

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Bumblefest happens Sept. 17 in Downtown West Palm Beach. It’s free but a $5 donation is your cover for the Respectable Street venues, which will benefit Hope from Harrison and Surfer Blood’s Thomas Fekete’s wife and family to assist with medical expenses. For stages, line-up details and a sampler music by the bands, visit this link. A pre-party to the fest takes place Sept. 16 at Gramps in Miami, with The Stargazer Lilies, Seafoam Walls, Peyote Coyote. Cover charge is $5 and doors open at 9 p.m. Details for the pre-party are here. All images are courtesy of PureHoney.

(Copyright 2016 by Independent Ethos. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

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