Right now, musician David Castillo is sitting inside his Olympia, Washington apartment watching reruns of “Malcolm in the Middle” while uploading YouTube videos for his online music festival, Bummeroo. He spent all of yesterday putting 35 submissions into a playlist and still has about 20 videos to go. For Castillo, completing such a tedious task is better than being stuck at an actual music festival.
Castillo got burnt out on the festival vibe last year after he played a handful of them with his former garage-pop band, Pizza Time. When he was finished touring, he decided to create a festival with no rules called Bummeroo (a play on the iconic Tennessee fest, Bonnaroo).
“I was very grateful for the opportunities, but it was eye opening to see all the scheduling and the bickering,” Castillo says. “Being at a festival, it was not for me.”
Because he got bogged down recording a final Pizza Time album and starting a new band, Panaderia, Bummeroo never came to fruition for Castillo. Then, he realized the freeing power of YouTube and asked a number of bands from across the country to submit videos of themselves playing a live set.
Just before the first day of winter last year, Castillo received more than 50 submissions and spent all of Dec. 21, 2014 uploading them. This year, he’s gotten just as many submissions, including ones for Japan, Australia and Buenos Aires, Argentina.
After the first Bummeroo, Castillo was asked to play a streaming set in Buenos Aires for a band’s album release show. Because Castillo sings most of his songs in Spanish, he has many Latin-American fans.
“They projected us on a big screen in the venue and that started the relationship with Buenos Aires,” Castillo recalls. “I returned the favor by asking them to be a part of Bummeroo.”
Bands have been enthusiastic about playing Bummeroo because they feel similar frustrations when it comes to festivals, he explains. “Part of the whole thing is, ‘Dude don’t worry, that’s what you do at regular festivals.’ It’s very relaxed.”
For instance, there’s no set rules regarding sound or video quality at Bummeroo. Artists are allowed to use webcams, cell phones or even expensive cameras to record themselves playing. It doesn’t matter, as long as their set is documented specifically for Bummeroo and contains no offensive material.
Those parameters might change in 2016. Castillo wants to save some time by letting artists upload their own videos, but he is wary that he’ll get a lot of unwanted material. Just like any festival, though, unexpected things can happen.
“That’s part of it,” Castillo says, with a laugh. “It’s hard to keep people organized sometimes but I’m willing to try it out.”
In February, Castillo will release his last Pizza Time album before dropping Panaderia’s sophomore full-length. Although he plans to tour those efforts throughout the spring and summer, he’s not going to hit many festivals. After all, it’s pretty hard to top Bummeroo.