Bruce Springsteen’s “Born To Run,” one of rock and roll’s great statements, is a song that contains multitudes.
On Saturday night in Nashville, pop-punk maximalists Diarrhea Planet offered it up as a celebratory and life-affirming epitaph for one of Music City’s underground institutions.
That institution, if it can be called such, was the Freakin’ Weekend, an eight-years-running annual mini fest that showcased the cream of Nashville’s DIY punk and garage scenes, with a smattering of nationally touring out-of-town acts thrown in for good measure. It was announced earlier this year that this would be the fest’s final installment.
A decidedly non-commercial venture throughout its lifespan, Freakin’ Weekend was founded in 2009 by Ben Todd, a local musician who ran the blog Nashville’s Dead and passed away nearly four years ago at age 24. Todd, who is regarded as one of the leading custodians of Nashville’s mid- to late-aughts punk community, helped lay the groundwork that made it possible for operations like Third Man Records to set up shop in Music City and thrive. Since Todd’s passing, the fest has functioned partly as something of a living, breathing memorial to its founder.
Before launching into “Born To Run” (with Harry Kagan of Music Band on vocals) to close a spirited set at the Exit/In, Diarrhea Planet dedicated the tune to Ben Todd and his family, and, as the song drew to a close and the Boss’s fading words offered the promise of a walk in the sun, the Freakin’ Weekend’s last notes felt like anything but an ending.