Spotlight: Neon RetroFest Is Your New 80's Synthwave, Cyberpunk Music, Gaming & Film Festival

The three day festival in Rhode Island will bring together music, film, gaming and speaker panels all about synthwave, cyberpunk and sci-Fi from the late 70s until the early 90s.
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NEON Retrofest

Summer is a time when we talk about festivals all season. We want to highlight a festival that is a little different from what we normally post about. NEON RetroFest is the first-ever dedicated late 20th Century Retrofuturism Festival with primarily synthwave artists, panelists, a big focus on 80’s and early 90's gaming, vendors and more. It will take place in Warwick, Rhode Island in August.

The festival music lineup will include Robert Parker, Waveshaper, Dana Jean Phoenix, Absolute Valentine, Future Holotape, Tonebox, Let Em Riot, Street Cleaner, Protector 101, Face Hugger, Glitch Black, Glass Apple Bonzai, The Rain Within, Mecha Maiko, Rolly Mingwald, Mellow Fields, Facexhugger, Neuron Spectre, Bonggita, Straplocked Society, and Dreddd. 

Building the lineup was a challenge and a priority was to cover all of the sounds across synthwave according to NEON RetroFest Event Director Grant Garvin.

“In building the lineup for the inaugural NEON, our top priority was covering as many of the various subgenres of synthwave as we could. We had over 200 artists apply to play at the festival; including many we're personally fans of, so we certainly had a massive well of talent to draw from. Still, making choices as where to steer the sonically immersive program we envisioned for NEON wasn't easy. While one of the strengths of this genre is how wildly different the music styles that encompass it can be, this also makes it impossible to distill a live Retrosynth schedule down to a single recognizable sound,” Garvin explains to Magnetic.

“Focusing on those sacred places where all synthwave draws it's inspiration from: film scores, cyberpunk dystopias, and of course, the 1980s itself, allowed us to curate the music for each night of NEON with a distinct feeling in mind, while at the same time not being afraid to explore outside of that box and allow for some surprises. We wanted to craft a schedule that would not simply make people eager to catch their favorite headliners, but to experience each night of the lineup over the course of one unforgettable weekend, and walk away with a brand new view of the seemingly limitless horizons that synthwave represents as a form of music."

The festival will be much more than just music. There will be guest speakers and panelists like cyberpunk illustrator and game designer Rob Shields illustration, retro tech Youtube star The 8-Bit Guy, Tim Lapetino (author of Art of Atari) and many more.

NEON Retrofest wants to offer something a bit different from the normal 80’s film, arts or nostalgia festivals by giving attendees “a chance to experience the future as imagined by the past.”

There will be a big emphasis on gaming from the era as well with a vintage video game and pinball arcade with upwards of 75 cabinets; an immersive retro console gaming room, and board and RPG games. Dreadphile Cinema Club of Providence will curate a cult film festival. There will also be RPG games-on-demand where users can sign up to play for an hour. 

The festival will bring you cyberpunk and sci-fi from the late 70’s to the early 90s with one of the more unique lineups devoted to the craft in the U.S. It will all take place August 24-26 at the Crowne Plaza Warwick, which will allow attendees to book at the hotel. Fans can buy discounted rooms using the group code NEO.

We have a special discount code for our readers if you would like to pick up tickets. Just type in MAGNETIC when you are registering. 

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NEON Retrofest

NEON Retrofest Poster

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