One week after being announced as a headliner for the 2021 Punk Rock Bowling in Las Vegas, NOFX have dropped off the festival’s bill. The punk band, which infamously joked onstage about the horrific mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival in Vegas a few years back, revealed in a new statement that they’ve received “hate messages and threats” since last week’s lineup reveal.
NOFX were one of three headliners announced for Punk Rock Bowling, topping the bill alongside Circle Jerks and Devo. They’ve been replaced on the lineup by legendary punk act Descendents, with NOFX frontman Fat Mike stating, “It’s pretty f**king cool that we are being replaced by a better band!”
In May 2018, NOFX made some crude jokes about the October 2017 mass shooting that killed more than 50 people at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival. While NOFX were performing onstage at the 2018 Punk Rock Bowling festival, Fat Mike said, “We played a song about Muslims and we didn’t get shot. Hooray!” To which guitarist Eric Melvin replied, “I guess you only get shot in Vegas if you are in a country band,” with Fat Mike adding, “At least they were country fans and not punk rock fans.”
Needless to say, the onstage banter made national headlines and resulted in NOFX being “canceled” in the months to follow. They were even removed from the bill of their own Punk in Drublic Festival.
Three years later, the topic remains sensitive, especially in Las Vegas. NOFX acknowledged as much in a new statement from Fat Mike explaining why they’re dropping off the 2021 Punk Rock Bowling bill:
“I’ve been playing and bowling at Punk Rock Bowling since the very first one when there were only 22 teams. PRB is my favorite time of the year. Like so many of you, I not only get to see my favorite bands, but I also get to see my punk friends from high school. This event is my reunion, it’s my convention, and it’s my church…. I was so f**king excited to play it this year….. but sadly we are not going to. NOFX had a meeting this week and decided we shouldn’t play out of respect that wounds are still healing. There has been a lot of hate messages and threats because we are on the bill, It just feels wrong. We know we said shitty things that caused it, so we get it. Sorry to everyone that wanted to see us. It’ll have to be in a different city. Hopefully we can see you all in Vegas when the time’s right. But not Everything Sucks, I talked to Milo yesterday…. And he’s comin! Decendents are taking our spot! It’s pretty f**king cool that we are being replaced by a better band! I wish I could be there to see ’em. Actually very sincere, Fat Mike and NOFX.”
Punk Rock Bowling takes place September 24th-26th at the Downtown Las Vegas Event Center. In addition to the headliners, the bill boasts dozens of punk and hardcore acts, including Frank Turner, Streetlight Manifesto, Lunachicks, The Menzingers, Leftover Crack, Gorilla Biscuits, Anti-Flag, Murder City Devils, Municipal Waste, The Bronx, The English Beat, The Queers, Youth Brigade, and more.
The festival was postponed last year due to the pandemic, with many of the scheduled 2020 artists signing on to play the 2021 fest. However, a number of overseas bands are no longer able to play due to travel restrictions, leading to a few significant changes to the original 2020 lineup.
NOFX’s full statement, along with a message from Punk Rock Bowling organizers and a new lineup poster, can be seen in the Instagram post below.