Over the weekend of August 18th and 19th Portland, Oregon will play host to R.I.P City Rundown. This is a two day music festival started by Christopher Fernicola (Creatures Closet) and Quinn Walls (Bad Sex). The inception of R.I.P. City Rundown came from Fernicola and Walls need for a gathering of like-minded weirdos and outcasts. Both had witnessed rock n’ roll festivals like Rocky Mountain Ripper( Denver) and Fear City (New York) do well to represent their respective communities. Since the West Coast is home to many punk, power pop and rock n’ roll bands they decided that Portland should be next for something similar.
By combining resources and tireless energy R.I.P City Rundown was born. This festival will celebrate an impressive line up with the talents of The UpKeeps, Bad Sex, The Whiffs, Nico Bones, The Fauxs and many others. In addition djs’ like DJ Andy Maximum will keep the energy alive with volatile sets of punk and power pop. All of this will take place at Swan Dive on 727 SE Grand Ave in Portland.
To learn more about R.I.P City Rundown and Creatures Closet, I caught up with Fernicola. We chatted about his history in New York City, passion for vintage clothing, collaborating with Walls and what to expect from R.I.P City Rundown this weekend.
NixBeat: Christopher Fernicola, tell us a little about yourself and what prompted you to move to Portland, Oregon?
Fernicola : I was raised in Jersey in an Italian household. Moved to NYC in my early 20s. Had various jobs in the hospitality industry but eventually landed at Andy’s Cheapies and Trash and Vaudeville in St Marks. That kind of led to my passion for vintage and styling. After 12 years of living in the city, I wanted a change of pace. I hopped on a train for the cross country trip so I could see a little of the scenery on the way.
NixBeat: How did you come to set up Creatures Closet in Portland?
Fernicola: Me and my girlfriend share a longtime love of vintage. Before we met, we had both wanted to own vintage stores but it was a dream at that point. After collaborating on an Etsy and various markets around the city, we found our starter space and quickly expanded to our new larger location. I was making a career change during the pandemic and focusing on leather work. She was already working in wholesale vintage leather goods so it was kind of meant to be.
NIxBeat: What are some differences you experienced in Portland, Oregon compared to your time in New York City?
Fernicola: The Pizza ha ha
NixBeat: I understand you DJ in Portland and have collaborated with dj’s like Andy Maximum. How did you start out djng and what are your favorite places and music to spin?
Fernicola: I started out djing in New York on Ave A. I took a little hiatus and then started another night up called Temper Tantrum which was the collaboration with DJ Andy Maximum and a few other local djs. I mainly focus on 77’ punk and power pop. My favorite place to spin is Star Bar.
NIxBeat: How did you and Quinn Walls of Bad Sex start collaborating?
Fernicola: We met through the music scene and going to each other’s shows. We had been talking about putting on a show together for quite some time, glad to see it coming together.
NixBeat: The R.I.P City Rundown is on August 18th ,and 19th and is cited as being Portland’s Power Pop, Rock n’ Roll/Punk Fest. What inspired you to start the The R.I.P City Rundown?
Fernicola : Me and Quinn had been talking about getting a fest together for west coast punk “n” roll/power pop bands to be represented out here. You have a lot of great stuff going on in NYC with Fear City, Downsouth Showdown in Atlanta ,and Rocky Mountain Ripper in Denver. There’s just nothing like that out here on the West Coast. So, we’re making it happen.
NixBeat: This festival has quite the line up, which includes The Whiffs, The UpKeeps, Appaloosa, Leather Bitch among many other groups. What can readers look forward to with the R.I.P City Rundown?
Fernicola : People can look forward to seeing some of the city and the west coast’s best rock n roll, power pop and punk bands. We even have one band that flew all the way in from Spain! There will also be a great selection of vintage and local maker vendors. Along with djs between bands.
NixBeat: What will make The R.I.P City Rundown different from other underground rock n’ roll festivals?
Fernicola: Dunno…I’ve only been to above ground rock n roll festivals.
NixBeat: What does the future hold for Creatures Closet?
Fernicola: Creatures Closet is for true weirdos and outsiders. We’ll keep this thing going for as long as our fan base will allow it. A great man once said “The Future is Unwritten.”
For more about R.I.P City Rundown check out their Facebook event!