This week GSTQC Music Festival brings us 3 days of the best up-and-coming bands you’ve never heard of. 

This week GSTQC Music Festival brings us 3 days of the best up-and-coming bands you’ve never heard of. 
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This Thursday marks Day 1 of the 5th Annual God Save The Queen City Music Festival (GSTQC). What started out in 2010 as a showcase of local live music at the Chop Shop, has grown to a 3-day, multi-venue music festival that celebrates national, regional and local acts scheduled to play at the Evening Muse, Chop Shop and the Fillmore.

Eric Leaf and Dave Collier of Ink Floyd Screen Printers are the organizers and promoters for this event. They’ve been bringing bands to Charlotte as “Ink Floyd Presents” for 3 years and are responsible for introducing us to the live shows of St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Jeff the Brotherhood, Diarrhea Planet (TERRIBLE name, but great act I hear) and Water Liars to the Charlotte market.

In 2013, when Eric landed St. Paul & the Broken Bones to close out an epic day of QSTQC at the Chop Shop, none of us had heard of the band before. This unknown act out of Birmingham, AL lit up NoDa that night with a high energy troupe of horns, strings and James Brown inspired, makes-your-soul-scream-kind-of-sound coming out of an unassuming short white guy with a potbelly.

I knew from that show on, whenever Eric and Ink Floyd Presents were bringing music to town, I needed to pay attention. The very next year, St. Paul & the Broken Bones sold out Neighborhood Theatre and this year they’ve been touring with The Rolling Stones.

So Charlotteans, pay attention here, if you want to see bands in an intimate setting before they go arena-style, check out GSTQC this week.

Before we get to the line-up for this year, let’s talk to Eric and Dave.  

From what I’ve witnessed, you have an ear for emerging talent and have been instrumental in bringing new talent to our market. 

Dave: Eric really has a gift for finding the emerging talent. I’m always pleasantly surprised to see all these bands live – having never heard of most of them – but being blown away by their live performances. Case in point, Diarrhea Planet. You just can’t judge a book by its cover when it comes to those guys. We always say look beyond the name because you really don’t want to miss their show.

“You boys must be a band!” “How did you know!?”

A photo posted by TEAM DP (@diarrheaplanet) on

Eric: I think it’s our job, really any promoter’s job, to cultivate talent, and in our case help them grow in the market. We actually started bringing bands to town with JEFF the Brotherhood in May 2013, as Ink Floyd Presents, and at that point we decided to start looking at adding regional and national bands to GSTQC. We usually work with bands on their early visits to town. We’ve had success doing three shows with St. Paul, this will be our 4th show with Diarrhea Planet and 3rd and 4th with Water Liars. We’ve worked with Clear Plastic Masks a few times and Futurebirds – although we definitely can’t take credit for Futurebirds success in this market, we didn’t start working with them until they had already played here a couple of times.

Does any other locally produced music festival rival this in size or talent? 

Eric: I think Reverb Fest and CLTure Music Fest are doing cool things. We started out doing this as strictly local bands only and I think it’s cool to keep that emphasis, even as we aim to take things up a notch. Even now, the majority (13 of 22) sets are local. Also, sad as it may sound, we are now the longest running music festival in Charlotte and it’s only our 5th year doing this. 

Dave: I like to think it’s really about quality over quantity – the music itself, not the magnitude of the event.

@jeffthebrotherhood is on the big stage bringing the epic heavy vibes. #GSTQC #nashvillemusic #twitfromthepit A photo posted by lnk Floyd, Inc. (@inkfloyd) on

What acts are you most excited about this year? Why?

Dave: I’m most excited about The Dean Ween Group because I never got to see Ween live but I’ve been listening to them for a very long time. Overall, I’m excited to see all the bands on the bill that are new to me because I love the process of discovery and hearing new bands.

Eric: I think there is a lot to be excited about this year; it’s by far our best lineup to date. We have 8 to 9 regional/national bands. I’m pretty excited for Dean Ween group. With 4 of the 5 original members doing all Ween tunes, it’s as close as you can get to Ween these days. So I think folks who were big Ween fans will be all over it. They’re a great party band, so it will be a good time regardless. Also stoked for Diarrhea Planet, they have been getting lots of love from the press of late. They were Paste Magazine’s #1 Best Live Band of 2014 and got killer reviews for their performances at the Forecastle and Sasquatch festivals. Water Liars and Futurebirds both have new records coming out soon, so I think their sets will be fresher, which is pretty exciting. Ravenna Colt hasn’t really played the east coast in 5 years, so I’m pretty excited to see Johnny Quaid (original guitar player of My Morning Jacket).

Looking at past line-ups, who is the biggest act – based on popularity at this point – that has played GSTQC? 

Dave: Feels like St. Paul & the Broken Bones have really blown up. Seeing them open for The Rolling Stones recently was so amazing. They’re so special and so mind-blowing live it doesn’t surprise me.

Eric: I’d say, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, although I think its important to note this is only the 3rd year where the talent has been opened up to regional and national bands. The 1st two years were strictly Charlotte area bands.

It’s the 5th year for the festival, Saturday night has stepped up to the Fillmore and you have your biggest headliner ever. Discuss.  

Dave: The intent is to continually curate a fresh, eclectic mix of music where you could bring a big group of friends who have diverse tastes in music and everyone would be stoked. Our goal is to get many more fresh faces out to the festival this year, people who maybe missed out on previous years, but to also blow minds of peeps who’ve come out over the last four years as well.

Eric: Each night and venue has its own vibe. Thursday is in a smaller venue and will be the more intimate night. The Friday night line-up is by far the most eclectic of the 3, genre wise. Saturday there is a free element that will spread bands across the NC Music Factory venues Bootleggers, Texicali and VBGB. These acts are all free and all local. Hopefully the day sets will create a good vibe and get folks down early and gearing up for Saturday night. I think Saturday night, aside from being the “main event,” has a strong party vibe. Each band has a lot of fun onstage, and the hope is that it will carry over to everyone who comes out.

Listen to the GSTQC Primer Playlist on Spotify for most of the bands and then get out this weekend and support local live music.


Thursday August 27th, Evening Muse – doors 7pm, show 8pm

Tickets: $14 advanced, $20 day of show | Ages : 16+

Ravenna Colt (Boise, ID)
Water Liars (Oxford, MS)
Justin Fedor (solo)

Friday August 28th, Chop Shop NoDa – doors 7pm, show 8pm

Tickets: $15 advanced, $20 day of show | Ages : 16+

Diarrhea Planet (Nashville, TN)
Kansas Bible Company (Goshen, IN)
Water Liars (Oxford, MS)
Pujol (Nashville, TN)
Ancient Cities
Bubonik Funk
Music Band (Nashville, TN)
Jr. Astronomers

Saturday August 29th, NC Music Factory, Day Shows

Tickets: Free Admission 3pm -6pm

Temperance League
Pullman Strike
Black Market
The Sammies
Hungry Girl
Giant Squid Squad

Saturday August 29th, The Fillmore Charlotte – Doors 6pm, show 7pm

Tickets: $25 advanced, $30 day of show | All ages
$40 VIP Club – Early Entry, Exclusive Seating section, and Silk Screened Event poster

Dean Ween Group (New Hope, PA)
Futurebirds (Athens, GA)
Benji Hughes
Alternative Champs

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