"IT'S TWO BIRDS with one stone," says Rynne Stump. "Not only do I want to throw my own dream concert; I want to have my old friends meet my new friends."
The idea came backstage after a Tool concert, when Stump caught up with her pals Yob, who opened the show. "I was like, 'Wait a minute, I should just do a show in Portland,'" Stump remembers thinking. "That way I could just see everybody." But she wanted more than to reconnect with friends—she was missing music as well.
"When I moved from Portland to Los Angeles, I couldn't see my favorite bands," Stump says. "No one really came down here. There's not really a thriving metal scene in LA."
So in 2012 she assembled the inaugural Stumpfest. Yob performed, along with Nether Regions, Diesto, and others. It went off without a hitch. In 2013 the festivities added a day, and this year Stumpfest takes on a third. With nightly headliners Trans Am, Red Fang, and Yob, 2014's bill is a significant step up in both the caliber and breadth of styles on offer. And while much of the bill is gnarled, sludgy, or searing, Stump insists this isn't a traditional metal fest.
"It's a heavy music fest," she says. "It's a rock fest. I mean we've got Trans Am the first night. The beauty is that each night is really unique."
Indeed, threads run through each evening. Thursday, with Trans Am and Federation X, weaves motorik, precise-yet-spacey experimentalism with chugging, melodic hooks. On Friday, Red Fang fly the stoner-rock freak flag alongside Lord Dying's shreddy metal classicism. Yob, on Saturday, are the deep dive, cataclysmically heavy and glacially paced. Supporting acts will both dovetail and throw curveballs, from the goth-glam, shoegazing synths of Drab Majesty to the heaving convulsions of Drunk Dad.
"It's kind of stunning, actually," Stump laughs. "I cast the net pretty wide and everybody said 'yes.' It was kind of up to the universe."
And while thanking her lucky stars may be warranted, credit also goes to the relationships Stump made while living in Portland back in the early '00s, when she worked as an assistant to Chantelle Hylton, booker for the Blackbird and Berbati's Pan.
"Almost all the bands that are playing Stumpfest—let's say 98 percent of the bands—I know or have worked with friends of mine," Stump says. "I used to work with Bill from Federation X. We worked at the same mailing company. I met Jon Theodore at the Blackbird years and years ago. Yob, those dudes, Mike and I have been close for eons. My best friend Mark plays guitar in Diesto. The drummer in Honduran went to my elementary school and we were really tight friends in first grade."
And like they used to do at the Blackbird, Stump is taking care of her bands. Aside from the T-shirts she designs and hand presses, Stump says she forwards all profits above original guarantees on to the bands.
"I don't know what the evolution is going to be for following years," she adds. "But as long as the enthusiasm is there and people want to come and play and travel, it's like, hell, I'll be doing this 'til I die. But I will stop immediately if anything becomes compromised because the whole idea behind it is: It's a family affair."