We recently sat down with Jonathan Nasrallah, one half of the brains behind Mighty Oak Music Festival (the other half is Andrew Chafin), taking place this Friday and Saturday, August 15th and 16th, in our neighborhood of Five Points. It's featuring indie, electronic, and punk bands from around Florida and surrounding states. Sure to be a hit among residents seeking good bands at our favorite venues like Rain Dogs, Deep Search Records, and SunRay Cinema. It's a pleasant change from Jacksonville's usual beach-rock/alternative monotony.
Where did the name "Mighty Oak" come from?
"After Andrew and I decided we were going to do the festival in Jacksonville we tried to come up with a name that reminded us of home. We both grew up in Ortega which is full of oak trees. We also both went to Episcopal which has a 100 year old oak tree on school grounds that kids would often go eat lunch under. There's something really special about just sitting in the shade of tree that's been on this planet for so much longer than you have. Growing up surrounded by these trees you learn to stop and really appreciate your environment. We feel that Mighty Oak is a chance for us to do that. We're trying to stop and appreciate the awesome environment around us and focus on the noteworthy musicians who are making Florida an exciting state for music. "
How and when did the festival start?
"My friends run a festival called Total Bummer, which is a DIY fest in Florida. Every year I became more involved, but this year they're aren't doing it until October." (It usually takes place late Summer) "So, Andrew and I decided back in March to organize our own festival for the end of Summer".
Jonathan, being a Tallahassee resident and FSU student for the past 5 years, is actually a Jacksonville native. "There's nowhere to do it in Tallahassee unless it's at someone's house."
Even in a college town?
"There are music venues but they're predominately focused around EDM. Good punk shows are going to be at people's houses and we really didn't want to do that."
Tell us about the process of planning/organizing a music festival.
"It has been a ton of work but luckily I have the summer off." Planning the festival gave him a sense of doing something productive and positive for the local music scene. He felt the genres featured at Mighty Oak have been under-represented at recent Jax festivals.
How do you select artists for the fest?
"A lot of the bands were either bands I've booked in Tallahassee before or have played Total Bummer." Jacksonville bands were booked through word of mouth and keeping tabs on social media. "I literally emailed people I've never met before from Jacksonville. I would listen to their Bandcamps, and if it sounded like a good fit for the festival I'd contact them. That's how I discovered bands like Fjord Explorer, Civil Brute, and Fort Stories."
Which artists are you most excited to see?
"My friends are in a band called Adjy and they're from St. Pete. I've actually never seen them play live. They're playing Friday night at Rain Dogs. I'm also very excited to see Sales. They've got over half a million views on YouTube! We're hoping that translates to real life views." JUDE., from West Palm Beach, is another anticipated favorite.
What does the future hold for Mighty Oak Festival?
"I've got one year left of college, so who knows! Hopefully it will get bigger every year." We sense the optimism, Jonathan! "There will definitely be at least 2 years of Mighty Oak."
"We're hoping people support the local businesses (during Mighty Oak). The businesses in Five Points have been really open, welcoming, and have made our lives easier. The number one thing is that the fest is a community effort. We're doing this because we want Jacksonville to have a lively music scene."
We can't wait! Mighty Oak is poppin' off August 15th and 16th in Five Points. Pre-sale weekend passes can be found HERE. We encourage carpooling, biking, or piggyback rides since parking is limited. Thehoneydeux will be there snapping street style pix so trim your beards and wash your skinny jeans for once. Please.
Listen to these playlists below to get to know the bands and practice your dance moves!