EARLY WORD: Jingle Bells, Batman Smells


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BY TIFFANY YOON Geoff McGovern has become well known in Philly, or at least in some DIY circles, for booking all ages shows in makeshift venues like the Danger Danger Gallery and Pi Lam in West Philadelphia. He’s also booked shows at the Copy Gallery on 11th and Arch and has been known to use other venues to house bands like Ponytail, Growing, Eric Copeland of Black Dice, Teeth Mountain and many other names that are now well-known in the music circuit. He’s not the first to book shows of this caliber in Philadelphia, but he’s probably the youngest. McGovern has booked these great bands in just the past year, and he’s done it all the while finishing up high school at Father Judge. Recently, Phawker caught up with Geoff to find out just what Christmas in July is and his plans for the future.

Phawker: What is Xmas in July and how did it originate?

Geoff McGovern: Well, actually, Xmas in July originated last year in about a week’s worth of promotion and thought. A friend and I each wanted to put together a weekend’s worth of crazy house shows in the suburbs. His night was cancelled so I planned two shows into one all day show calling it Xmas in July at my house in Northeast Philly. The day actually had nothing to do with Christmas, but it featured a bunch of local noise, a freakout/meltdown, and Monotonix…can’t get much weirder than that, right?

Phawker: You’ve always been kind of an anomaly in the music community because you’ve been booking great all ages shows, even while you were still in high school.  How did you start booking shows?

Geoff McGovern: I started booking shows early in 2008 even though the first show I actually completely curated and put together was in May. It began featuring a couple bands who needed a Philly tour date (Japanther and The Pharmacy) and turned into a 6 band bill featuring 5 non-locals, 4 who were touring. A couple of these bands are now featured on this year’s Xmas and are now really great friends.

Phawker: In terms of music and scenes, you seem fairly well connected in West Philadelphia and Baltimore.  How did these connections come about?

Geoff McGovern: I think about 3 out of my first 5 shows featured some type of Baltimore artist. A lot of the booking of Baltimore artists early on was merely coincidental with either me helping out a touring Baltimore band or inviting friends of the headliner up from Baltimore to play. I think Baltimore just has a ton of options when it comes to booking a band from there as it’s so close to Philly. My connection to West Philly started as I began looking for better places to host DIY all-ages shows and Danger Danger and Pi Lam are two of the best places in the city to do so, plain and simple.

Phawker: What’s in for the future of Xmas in July and what do you hope to do in music for yourself in the future?

Geoff McGovern: Even though I’m moving out in August for college, I hope to continue to have Xmas in July with different locals and headliners annually in my original backyard if this year goes well. I guess I’ll keep doing that until it becomes too large and annoying to my neighbors and mom forcing me to find another location. Besides Xmas, I plan to stay in Philly for a while as of right now and continue putting together all-ages shows and hopefully begin to do more than a couple at a time and nail down a permanent venue of my own in the next couple years. Got some really great bands coming in this Fall including Thee Oh Sees, Blues Control, and lots more!


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