WHITESBURG — As part of the Annual Seedtime on the Cumberland festival, the annual Seedtime Punk shows brought fans together from across the state to enjoy their favorite bands.
Mikie Burke, 25, of McRoberts has been booking the punk shows at Seedtime for the past 10 years. He started putting shows on when he was just 12 years old.
Burke remembers his parents dropping him off at the Boone Building in Whitesburg for punk shows when he was 11 and 12 years old and is thankful that his parents gave him the support to pursue his interest in music.
“I’d be into some really stupid stuff. I wouldn’t of been playing music or skateboarding,” said Burke.
Putting on shows for the younger generation is one of the main reasons Burke books the Annual Seedtime Punk Show and other shows in the area.
Burke said it gives the chance for the youth in the area who feel that they are misfits a place where they feel welcomed and loved.
It is also a way for the current generation to have the chance to get together, enjoy the music, and catch up with old friends, Burke said.
Burke is also the Lead Educator for the Appalachian Media Institute and runs a radio show on WMMT called The Witching Hour.
Friday night, Burke’s band Dabs played in the lineup that featured State Champs from Louisville.
Dabs has been playing together for a little over a year now.
Burke said they write music about the X-Files television show, girls and monsters.
His favorite song they wrote is called “Robbing The Hood” which is about his girlfriend.
Burke hopes Dabs will start touring soon.
Swift Ganja performed both punk shows on Friday and Saturday night.
Friday night was the first show the band has performed.
“Don’t let the name fool you,” said member Thomas Anderson.
Anderson describes the band as Rock-N-Roll with an emphasis on social issues, such as prescription drug addiction, the Mexican-U.S. Border, love, and for profit prisons.
Anderson has been playing music since he could walk and talk. He self-taught himself how to play.
He’s been teaching fiddle for two years in Virginia.
“It’s OK to speak up. Your voice matters,” Anderson said of the importance of music and songwriting.
One of the songs he wrote is about prisons who profit from the misfortunes of non-violent drug offenders. He feels strongly that prisons who operate that way are wrong.
“I just think it’s very pitiful that anyone would see locking people up for non-violent crimes as a way to make money,” said Anderson.
While he knows that he might not make it big in the music world or gain a lot of wealth from music, he hopes his music is heard and loved.
One show was held on Friday evening at Summit City Lounge, while the other show was held at the Youth Board Building located at the old Boone Motor Building in Whitesburg on Saturday.
Burke said he will always do his best to book shows in this area and showcase the talents that the local musicians in this area have.
“We are blessed to live in such a small town, because most of my friends either play music or support those who do,” said Burke.
TJ Caudill is a reporter for The Hazard Herald and he can be reached at 606-629-3245.