Category Archives: Festivals

Thank you Phoenix Improv Festival!!! #PIF13

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Thank You Phoenix Improv Festival for an incredible weekend! We had such a fun weekend filled with shows, workshops, parties, and sunlight! Sweet sweet sunlight! It was so much fun we thought we’d provide you with a daily breakdown of our trip.

Friday

The Arrival

After a 5am cab ride to the airport, the four of us (Dave was out of town doing something lame thing like visiting family or something) checked into our flight and went through security. David was immediately asked to step aside and with no explanation as a TSA agent grabbed David’s hands and wiped them with a brush looking for “residue.” David made a masturbation joke which no one appreciated at 5:30 in the morning, and then the boys were off through security without any other hitches!

The boys were seated all across from each other on aisle seats. David and Ryan next to each other and Alan and Collin next to each other one row behind David and Ryan. Ryan spent the airplane ride sleeping while listening to the Goodfellas soundtrack, David spent the airplane ride reading and listening to music, and Collin and Alan spent the airplane ride running lines for shows and finding ways to annoy David like constantly rubbing his head, poking him through the seats or asking him loud and inappropriate questions so everyone around him could hear. Though this was probably the tamest of the Switch Committee plane/car rides. Once we landed a man asked Collin and Alan “Why do you keep ragging on this guy?” inquiring about how poorly they seemed to treat David.

We walked off the plane and were greeted by our Den Mother Marisol! She had a sign that said “Switch Committee” on it. As Ryan said, “let me get a picture of…”, Marisol threw the sign in the garbage, which prompted us to go dumpster diving to retrieve it.  In the car, she gave us swag bags which had our badges, stickers, and notebooks. So awesome.

We asked Marisol what the best breakfast place around was and she immediately took us to Lolo’s Chicken and Waffles. They served homemade kool-aid in giant mason jars, and everything on the menu was basically just a variation of Chicken and Waffles. Everyone got giant plates of delicious, juicy, buttery chicken and waffles and David got collared greens and an egg because of Passover. He’s so Jewish. Ryan said it was the best kool-aid he’s ever drank in his life. Leaving the restaurant we were really able to soak in Phoenix. It was hot outside and we were so happy to be somewhere where the sun was shining. At one point Alan pointed to the ground and said “Look guys! Grass!” We were so excited about seeing a tree with leaves on it that we took a picture next to it. It’s the little things. Marisol dropped us off at our hotel where we all immediately ordered room service and threw a giant party with all sorts of sexy people invited…ok we all just immediately passed out and took naps from the early flight and because our bellies were filled with chicken and waffles (except David who was now eating kosher for passover macaroons). Collin, Alan, and David, all fell asleep in the same bed next to each other, while Ryan, seeing there was a free bed open, decided to grab a blanket and sleep under the desk like a troll. Ryan enjoyed sleeping under the table so much that he wound up sleeping under it for the two nights he was in Phoenix. He says it was because he liked it and his back hurt, but we all know it was really just because he was near an outlet where he can charge his phone.

Pre-Show

We had heard people saying “you need to check out the science museum” so we decided to venture to the museum to see what all the hub-bub was about. We waited in line for a good amount of time, but not long enough to realize that this was a museum for children. After we each paid our $17 it hit us that it was all children and we looked like a bunch of older weirdos. Granted, we still walked around and played with everything that we could. We threw balls in a nose, performed brain surgery, walked through a stomach, and rode bikes to conduct electricity. It was perfect for us since we are basically children.

 

We arrived at the Herberger theater at 6pm to take an all-performers photo. It was there where we were greeted by Mack Duncan and Bill Binder, the men who run the Phoenix Improv Festival. They were both dressed sharply in full suits which was an indication of how professional this festival was taken. They showed us the stage we’d be performing on and our jaws dropped. It was a giant theater, easily the biggest theater space we’ve ever performed in (325 seats) and the biggest stage we’ve ever played on. We immediately looked around and made one rule (that we would later break) no one falls off the front of the stage because the stage was probably over 5 feet high. After the photo, one of the staff asked us if we’d like to see our dressing room. What!? Dressing Room WHAT!? We walked behind the stage into the back area and saw a dressing room with our “Switch Committee” logo on the front. The dressing room was decorated with candies, chocolates, bracelets, fun pencils, magazines, and of course, because they knew us so well, the walls were covered with One Direction posters. Collin was immediately drawn to the Mad Magazines while David and Alan quizzed each other on who their perfect One Direction match would be. Alan got Niall. Ryan drank coke. It was so cool to have our own space and it made us just feel excited and ready to perform. When Ryan talked with Bill and expressed his gratitude for how well they took care of us, Bill said, “We like to treat the performers the way they deserve to be treated…like rockstars.” Another indication of how well this festival is run and how well the performers are treated.

 

It was only 7:00pm at this point, and we weren’t on until 10:30pm so we went up to the balcony to watch the other improv teams. The theater was packed with people who were all buzzing with excitement. It was amazing and inspiring to see that many people packed into a giant theater space to watch improv comedy. The groups before us were all fantastic and at intermission we headed back to get ready for our show. The people backstage had no idea what to do with us as we began beating the hell out of each other all over the backstage area of the theater to warm up. It was like a hardcore wrestling WWE match with trash cans and objects being used all over the place. People were looking around as if they should call the police. After calming down, we put our hands in the middle and dedicated our upcoming show to Dave.

The Show

The show was an absolute blast! Once the music started, we came dancing out (as usual), but this time to one of the biggest audiences we’ve ever performed for.(325 seats and the house was packed). After dancing like fools, we got the suggestion of “baking cookies.” This prompted us to talk about topics like loved ones sending baked goods, loved ones sending DVD’s, and sharing Netflix with relatives and it messing up the queue. Then, from there, we transformed into doing our show…

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AfterMath

After the show we were invited to join everyone at Space 55 for an after party. Ryan, David, Collin, and our friend from the Magnet Theater, Rick Andrews, all went to the Circle K convenience store to buy some drinks for the party. Rick asked Ryan to get him a seltzer water, but Ryan didn’t know what seltzer water was and David got nothing because of Passover. Ryan also bought a slurpee but accidentally put it in a regular drink cup so he was amazed that it only cost him 89 cents. While Ryan walked out and explained his excitement about the current economy status of Phoenix,  Rick confirmed it was because the clerk thought there was soda in the cup. Highway robbery. Ryan’s wanted, Dead or Alive. Space 55 was a blast. They had a stage and theater seats in the back room and put on a show called Jam City. We got to meet all the wonderful performers who performed that night and then got to do a short-form jam with them. At one point, a dog was on stage playing 185; the dog literally stormed the stage, stepped forward, barked a few times, and then stepped back.

 

Ryan could not stop laughing. Around 2am Phoenix time, we had all realized that we’d basically been up for 24 straight hours and it was time for us to head home. Alan and Collin slept together, David slept on the other bed, and Ryan on the floor under the table.

Saturday

We all woke up around 9am Saturday, and ate breakfast. Before our workshop, David and Collin decided to hang out inside the hotel room and watch the NBA playoffs while Alan and Ryan went out to explore the town. They went to different businesses around the area looking for knickknacks and things to bring back home from the trip. Ryan took hundreds of photos of the street art he saw while Alan complained about how hungry he was. Eventually they found themselves at a restaurant waiting for David and Collin to show up.

 

 

Around 12:30pm Marisol picked us up from the restaurant and took us to the Phoenix Theater where our workshop would be. The theater was beautiful with a gigantic grass courtyard. We arrived and saw a ton of familiar faces. Several of the improvisers performing in the festival were in the workshop. It was the biggest workshop we’d taught yet, with 21 people registered. So big, we split up the group giving Alan and Ryan 10 people while David and Collin took 11. The workshop was so much fun. Everyone was gung-ho and eager to learn. In addition, everyone was extremely talented. Everyone was also excited to jump all over each other which happened (hilariously) quite often. With such a supportive group, it was easily one of the best workshops we’ve ever taught.

 

It was Alan’s birthday on Saturday and he was hankering for In-N-Out Burger so Marisol offered to drive us to the restaurant. The car ride was insanity, with all of us all hungry and riled up from the workshop, we were dissing each other, and singing songs. We’d make a joke and then immediately follow it up with lines like “Are you two pieces of bread, because you just got TOASTED” or “Are you Space Ghost? Cause you just got GHOSTED!” Are you a mailman? Cause you just got POSTED! Typically those would be followed up with repeating the lines but saying BOOM or Got Ya before hand. You get the idea. This was the entire 20 minute car ride to In-N-Out Burger and then throughout the entirety of the meal. At In-N-Out Burger everyone got Double Cheese Burgers and shakes except for Passover boy who got measly fries. The burgers were AMAZING and well worth the drive. After In-N-Out Burger, Marisol drove us back to the hotel, the car ride back was completely the opposite of the ride there.

That night, we went to an after party at a beautiful house with an outdoor bonfire and a delicious layout of food and drinks. Half-way through the party, all attention was brought to the backyard where an award was going to be given away. It was the annual ‘Balls Out Award’ which is given to someone who plays the biggest and the boldest during their show. Past winners came forward to talk about their previous experiences until the winner was announced. It was our very own David who won the award because he tore his pants in the show but continued to perform til the end.

 

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In the end, this was a fantastically run festival and we had the time of our lives. Everyone was so supportive and loving. It was a great feeling to be surrounded by people who were there because they loved to perform, nothing else. There was no “this is going to make me famous” or “I need to do this to get to here” going on. Instead, it was “I’m here because I love improvisational comedy and I want to perform with and support like minded individuals.” That’s what it’s all about. That’s what it should always be about. We are happy that we were apart of this and look forward to coming back in the future. It was honestly some of the most fun we’ve had yet in the festival circuit and had some of the most memorable moments. If you’re an improv group and looking for a festival to attend, this one should definitely be on your list.

Thank you Phoenix Improv Festival for being so accommodating and just plain awesome. Everyone did an amazing job putting together a fantastic festival.

 

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Thank you Eau Claire!!!

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Thank you Eau Claire Improv Festival! We had so much fun this weekend! This festival was truly a special, unique, and freezing cold experience! Here’s how the days went:

Friday

The whole trip was insane, starting with the 5 hour drive to Eau Claire Friday night through the snow! David booked us a minivan, and when we showed up we didn’t know it would be a candy-apple red, tricked out, Chrysler Town and Country, with TWO TVS IN IT! Xzibit himself would have been proud. Alan laid in the back row and slept through practically the whole car ride; Collin couldn’t stop snapchatting; Dave was continuously working on his Indian Chief impression; David couldn’t stop grumpily coughing and sneezing; and Ryan couldn’t stop coming up with ridiculous Italian names…It was a typical “Switch” car ride. During the drive we stopped off at the Pine Cone Restaurant, in De Forest, WI, which served you unlimited chicken and fish. Alan got the Porcupine Meatballs cause he’s disgusting, Ryan got a chocolate milkshake because he’s a child, and David got the only vegetarian thing on the menu…plain eggs. We also attempted to do a podcast, but things went to hell once the food came to the table.

Arriving in Eau Claire during a storm at 12:30 am is the ONLY time to arrive. We walked into the front door of what would be our home for the next two days. The best way to describe it is to have you picture a frat house in a movie after some crazy college party: Couches displayed in a Tetris-style fashion, art-deco pieces built from empty beer cans, an old school N64 plugged into a TV (despite there being 2 newer gaming systems behind it), and a vinyl record collection deep enough to insulate the house. When we asked if we could get the playlist because the music was so good, we were directed towards the record album which was, fittingly, playing The Animals. We were told to head downstairs where there was an Improv Jam going on. The basement was decked out in lights and rugs with a small space for a stage, and people were sitting and laying about, just having a good time. It was so awesome to see people performing because they love it, in a basement at 12:30am.

After the Jam was done we were shown to our room. It was one large room with three large air mattresses on the ground. Literally, the entire bedroom was mattress; if you stepped off your bed, you were on someone else’s. Naturally, Collin and Alan slept while spooning together, David got his own air mattress because he was sick, and Ryan and Dave were able to share a bed without laying on top of one-another. This has naturally morphed into the “Switch” sleeping arrangement. Leaving us in a small room like that may have not been the best idea, because it took us a few hours to fall asleep, as we were constantly jumping on top of each other and cursing. “Vincenzo Velucci, Velucci Fixtures!” was shouted as we dog piled on top of one another. We didn’t find out until the next morning that we kept the whole house up with our antics. But being amazingly nice, small town Midwesterners, they were incredibly polite about it. “No we heard it. All of it.”

Saturday

We woke up Saturday and our wonderful host Elliot was making us Blueberry Pancakes. Dave said they were the best blueberry pancakes he had ever eaten. Ryan agreed…they were the best pancakes that Dave had ever eaten. We then taught our Hyper-Play workshop down in the cool hybrid basement/ theater space. It was awesome to see people show up to take our workshop even though it was snowing and 10am. The workshop was awesome. We had them killing each other and slapping one another right from the start (just like how we warm up). After our workshop, we asked some of the students where the best pizza place is, and so off we went to JimBob’s where they have a deal – Buy One Pizza, Get One pizza free! Are you kidding me!? Is this real life!? We got a Smotherella pizza which was basically a giant cheese stick, it was disgustingly delicious.

After filling our bellies, Rick Andrews of the Magnet Theater  in NY, was nice enough to offer a workshop with us, so down we went again to the basement. It was so great to work with Rick, as there was an instant connection. Though we had never met him before, it felt like we knew exactly where he was coming from and he knew what we wanted. We screwed around for 90 minutes, learned some new games, then took turns taking naps or playing Super Smash Bros. and Wayne Gretzky’s 3D Hockey with the boys of the house until showtime.

SHOWTIME!

Wow! What an awesome job the festival producers did! The performances were held at Pizza Plus, a large pizza place/bar/ theater in downtown Eau Claire. On our way there Ryan thought he saw a little kid in a tattoo parlor peeing in a plant, but it was just a statue. The theater space was huge, probably had 250 people packed in, and the energy was amazing! This pizza place was one of the coolest pizza places ever. They had arcade games like Terminator and Big Buck Hunter along with a stereo system so you could hear everything that was said on stage even if you were in the way back. The crowd was so excited to see comedy and were incredibly inviting. The great people at Pizza Plus even offered us a free pizza! If you’re counting at home, that’s three pizzas in one day for the boys of “Switch.”

Our show was amazing. It started off with us lifting Alan up as a scarecrow and tying our ties on him to look like dead snakes to scare the kids away from stealing our pumpkins. Of course, in “Switch” fashion, the scarecrow came alive and killed us all, including Collin who wasn’t actually an adult, but two of those pumpkin-stealing kids on top of each other dressed in a trenchcoat. This led to a homicide scene where Alan the Forensic Analyst, and Dave the Detective, needed to get their hands up the bodies butts, to check for exit wounds, which led to a lot of “downstairs” touching. It was a series of scenes where they shoved their hands up Ryan’s ass. “This reminds me of that other murder a week ago, I think we have a copy cat! We cut back and forth to the ‘other’ murders, each one with Ryan laying face down ass up…BUT IT ALL MADE SENSE! The show was lunacy after that, with David having flashbacks to his days of getting stabbed at Miami Clubs, to all the guys shrinking down to go into Dave’s Rectum to find out who killed him, and meeting David, the Cinnabon-eating Ass Troll as well as Collin, a stripper who’d been eaten because she was inside of a cake for a bachelorette party. We also got to see behind the scenes footage from Slumdog Millionaire with Ryan, Dave, and Alan. The reaction from the crowd before and after was incredible.

Sunday

We rose to the gentle sounds of sickly Schwartzbaum snores. It sounded like the engine of a Harley Davidson motorcycle. We gathered our things, as quietly as the five of us were able to do, and said goodbye to the sleeping bodies cluttered around the house. The sleepy car ride home was filled with hilarious memories of the weekend, the newfound love for Wisconsin cheese, and the appreciation for the art we love.

We’d just like to take a moment, one more time, to thank the Boys in The House on Chippewa Street –  Alex Raney, Elliott Heinz, Mack Hastings, and Lucas – for being such great hosts and offering up their home to us; to Amber Dernbach and the entire Eau Claire Improv Festival for their hard work putting such a fantastic festival together; to Rick Andrews for the super fun workshop; and to all who came out and supported live comedy! Yes, it was cold and snowy, but I think the performers melted some cold hearts with warm improv performances…well, everyone’s hearts except David’s. We can’t wait to go back next year!

Thank you Eau Claire Improv Festival 2013!

 

Dear Denver Improv Festival

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Thank you for having us.  We had so much fun it should be illegal. Right off the plane we felt an inviting atmosphere. The airport was so spacious and easy to navigate. You’re probably thinking who talks about an airport? Well, when you’re from Chicago and have to go to crowded, congested O’Hare, we do. We appreciate the fact that we weren’t jumping through hoops trying to find our way. Although jumping through loops would probably be fun. The people (of Denver in general) were very nice. The view was beautiful. The malls were great. It was weird. We felt like we could do anything and get away with it. Don’t get me wrong. We didn’t commit any crimes, but we felt free to goof around without people staring at us like we were assclowns. For example, when we went to the mall we walked through the Urban outfitters singing at the top of our lungs. People glanced over and smiled. In Chicago, you’d probably get slapped for singing out of place (just kidding…). While we were there a zombie pub crawl was going down. There were zombies everywhere. Apparently if you wear an X on your back they can attack you so we saw zombies jumping on people. For a second, just half a second, we thought it was real. The theaters. OHHHH did we love the theaters in Denver.  Voodoo, Bovine, Impulse. All Great.  Dave, who is from Denver, told us how great they were but we had to experience it for ourselves to truly understand what he meant.

The Show

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The roar of that crowd is something we will never forget. Ryan was so touched by the response he wrote a blog about it in the green room before the show. We were chomping at the bit to get on that stage and dance our asses off.  Some highlights of the show include: a rhyming troll, a father playing catch with his son but the mother was absent because he told her to “go long” and she never came back, a baptism gone wrong where the person had ‘too much Christ’ and instead became a demon that controlled people like puppets, a cop that made a police car siren noise with his mouth everywhere he went, a ‘Dirty Bird’ mascot ghost from Nantucket that only one guy could see, an undercover Daryl Strawberry who worked at a sandwich bag making company for 3 years, an on-stage birth, and a horrific car crash that sent all of us flying around the stage. Out of context, all of that probably sounds like a horrific dream. If you were there, you witnessed a nonsensical good time. We loved it.

The Workshop

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This went extremely well. In fact, it couldn’t have gone better. Our new friends who took the workshop had a lot of positive feedback and really seemed to enjoy themselves. We loved working with them and thought everyone was hilarious.  They jumped right into the chaos from the very start. We started it off with everyone killing one another (it’s a switch committee thing) and no one held back. People were running up and slapping us around like we owed them money. It was great! Literally everyone of the people made us laugh at some point throughout the workshop. This is a great indicator of the type of talent that attends this festival. We went over in time. It was supposed to be 3 hours and we went an extra 20 minutes. Mainly because we were having so much fun and enjoyed watching everyone perform. In fact, if we could, the workshop probably could have gone another 2 hours…. (dance break).

So, if you’re reading this and thinking “I’d like to attend a festival” we definitely recommend you look into this one. It is seamlessly run and everybody treats you so well.

Thank you Denver. 😀

Thank you Big Little Comedy Fest!!!

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We’d like to thank Big Little Comedy for having us at the Big Little Comedy Fest this past weekend in Cleveland. We (Dave, David, and Ryan) had a ton of fun (Collin and Alan couldn’t go. They are trash). The trip definitely had it’s ups and downs. During the ride there, we got a ticket for something called the MOVE OVER LAW. Apparently, in Ohio (and other states that have the law), if an emergency vehicle is pulled over to the side of the road you have to slow down to 25mph or move into the other lane. We had no idea that this existed. The ticket was non-negotiable (despite us not even knowing about the law). Ridiculous. In the hotel lobby, we saw a drunken man in a top-hat who looked like he died 3 days ago banging on the door trying to get a room. The front desk person said, “I’m not dealing with this” and called the police who later removed the man from the lobby. Once we got to the room, we got the honeymoon suite, which consisted of a walk-through shower. You could literally walk into the shower from the living room and you’d be in the bathroom. Needless to say, anytime someone went to the bathroom at night everyone woke up.

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The Workshop

The workshop went great. We got to teach a lot of the stuff that we as a group do that works for us. Like how denial (with additional information) can actually progress a scene rather than halting it.  We shared some of our tips and tricks for what we have done on the path to becoming who we are today. While we were just having fun doing our thing, it was blush-worthy to see others take interest in what we had to say and, even more so,  actually writing it down. We would have liked to get feedback, but we refused to use the printer in the hotel, which charged a $19.95 pre-authorization fee to make copies. Not happening.

The Show

The show was spectacular (there will be a video of it coming soon). Before we get into it, let’s just say WE LOVE CLEVELAND COMEDY AUDIENCES. On numerous occasions, everyone in the green room was saying, “this crowd is hot.” We got to play an array of characters in our set. Characters like Sylvester Stallone (as Rocky), Demons from deep-Hell, a Sheriff who fired his gun and showed his badge every time he got drunk, and a Mill Man that just wanted to get to work. The Mill Man was created because Ryan is def and thought he heard Mill when we actually said Mail. We also created a door to another universe by just drawing a door on the wall with chalk. Think Beetlejuice. In fact, we even said, “just like they did in Beetlejuice.”

In the end, the trip was hilarious, the workshop was great, and the audience was amazing. We loved it. Thank you to the people of Cleveland for coming to the show and most importantly Big Little Comedy for having us. We look forward to coming back next year (as long as we don’t get any more tickets)!

Thank you to the Detroit Improv Festival!!!

2013-08-09 20.15.39We went to our first ever festival this past weekend and it was an absolute blast. We went to the Detroit Improv Festival in Ferndale, Michigan and had the time of our lives. Personally (you have no idea who’s writing this but you can guess), I think we became even closer as a group after doing this festival. I know what you’re thinking, “how can you guys get any closer? You slap each other in the dicks on stage?!” Sure, we’re real close, but when you’re running around jumping off of hotel beds in your boxers screaming the Blurred Lines lyric, “WHAT YOU DON’T LIKE WORK”, it takes your friendship to a whole new level.

For starters, the ride down there was filled with screaming, singing, sleeping, and snap-chatting.  If you didn’t notice, every one of those things started with an S. Completely coincidental or was it? Queue dramatic Inception music. We didn’t know what to expect going to this festival. You never know how things are going to go when you’re away from home. However, oddly, we collectively agreed that we weren’t nervous. It was weird. We just felt like we fit in there. Our hats (if we wore them) go off to the people who helped run the festival as they were very kind and supportive and never made us feel like we were outsiders. As soon as we got there, we felt right at home. It didn’t feel like we were doing a show in another state, it just felt like another show.

We had the amazing opportunity to open up for TJ & Dave. A show that one of the heads of the festival said, “sold out 4 days ago.” Needless to say, the place was packed to the gills. As for the show, it was explosive. We were physical. We were silly. But most importantly, we were having fun. Right from the start, we could feel a warm and inviting presence from the audience. They were there to have a good time. They weren’t just sitting at a bar and happened to catch a comedy show on their way to the bathroom. They had left their house to go and see a comedy festival. They were there to laugh. And it was our job to make them laugh. We played fast and we didn’t miss a beat. Some of the characters we played included a boy with a worm arm (who was coincidentally a baseball pitcher), a Mormon hell bent on selling Christ (chasing people on a roller-coaster), an umpire that had no control over his arms and was trapped in a house of mirrors (everyone flailed their arms on stage), and an alien girl with octopus phalanges sent down to Earth by her father to repopulate her species. Yes. We know. Absolutely insane. Yet absolutely necessary.

When we walked back stage, TJ & Dave were standing there to say two words. “Great show.” Together we melted into a puddle of slime. After the show, we were approached by audience members and other groups that had nothing but nice things to say about our show and about the way we play. We were and are so grateful. The support from the crowd, the inviting “right at home” feeling we got from the people who ran the festival and the groups that attended, and those two words made this trip an experience that we will never forget. It brought us closer together as a group and more importantly as friends.

Thank you Detroit. Thank you Ferndale. Thank you to everyone who was a part of the DIF.

You’re awesome.

–          The Boys