monufest

The inaugural Monufest is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23, at Ordinance One, 5738 Main St., New Port Richey.

NEW PORT RICHEY — Sharing a passion for music has brought more than just three friends together since childhood, it has expanded opportunities for local acts to perform in New Port Richey’s inaugural Monufest.

Ashtray Monument, a local record label started by Drew Williams, Louis Ciper, and Jay MacDonald in 2018, has since signed 40 bands. The record label’s first festival is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23, at Ordinance One, 5738 Main St., New Port Richey. Doors will open at 1 p.m. and tickets are available for $20 through EventBrite.com through searching for “Monufest.”

During the event, raffles and a silent auction featuring regional artists will be held with proceeds benefiting local organizations Mullins Music and Cindy’s Pets. Mullins Music is a school committed to providing quality music education to students of all ages, regardless of ability, background or personal circumstances. Cindy’s Pets purchases, packs and delivers pet food to seniors who participate in the Meals on Wheels program.

Bands scheduled to perform include Thunderclap from Gainesville; Telepathic Lines from St. Augustine; High from New Orleans; Curtains, The Hamiltons, Teresa Rose and Grave Return from Orlando; and New Port Richey’s own Sons of James.

“Drew, Louis, and I have been friends since elementary school,” said MacDonald. “Drew and I started playing music together in middle school and we were in all kinds of bands in college. Louis was in one of our very first punk bands called Punk Floyd. Music has been the connecting force between us all.”

Throughout moving homes and starting careers, music continued to keep the three friends together. MacDonald credited Williams’ ear for good music that kicked off the idea of starting Ashtray Monument. Williams had a notion to revive some old Florida punk bands by releasing their music that had never been heard before or promoted online.

Ashtray Monument looks for passion, honesty, and a real voice in the bands it signs — not just impersonating other bands that made it big, he said. The three friends find joy in their work and seeing bands play live for the first time.

On starting Monufest, MacDonald shared that the label hopes to see it become an annual event.

“We started getting a lot of people supporting the idea that liked the concept and wanted to see something like that happen in our community here,” MacDonald said. “The driving force behind all of this is to keep music alive and create a little music scene. That would be dream scenario where maybe five to 10 years from now, decent-sized bands actually like stopping through and playing in New Port Richey because it’s a quaint little place.”

To learn more about the event, visit www.ashtraymonument.com/monufest.