After an excellent first year, Mike Ciero and Rory McCoid are bringing back Jacksonville’s underground metal and hardcore festival with more artists, a bigger venue and an improved fan experience. To find out more about this year’s Beast, and why you definitely don’t want to miss it, read the interview below.

In your opinion, how do you think things went with the festival last year? Was it a success?

Mike: We felt the initial [festival] was better than we had anticipated. There were a ton of out-of-town people and area natives alike. All the bands that played had a blast and had nothing but positive feedback on the event. We were lucky enough to have a terrific crew and support from everyone that was on board.

What sort of things are you changing about it this year? Any new features or improvements?

Rory: Our location has moved to Aqua, and we are making some changes to the venue in order to make it more fan-friendly.

Mike: We have added some pretty heavy hitters this year, such as New Found Glory, Life Of Agony, and Biohazard. Also some young bands such as King Nine, Lifeless and Ghostxship will be playing Florida for their first time.

What does it mean to you guys to be able to get the chance to have a second SEBF this year?

Rory: We’re extremely proud to be in our second year, and we’ve already started discussing what we’d like to do for the third year.

Mike: You know it’s a great feeling knowing that we get this opportunity. To know bands are excited to play and fans are not only excited to come back, but there are a ton of people who will be there that missed SEB 2014. It’s the best feeling to have your hard work and months and months of planning turn into something that demanded a good second year be added.

Now that SEBF is established, have you found it easier to get more bands and bigger acts? Who are you most excited to have this year? 

Rory: Bands seemed to love playing last year. Several agents reached out to us to get their artists on the bill again this year, which we feel speaks volumes about the overall atmosphere of the event. New Found Glory playing their entire Sticks & Stones album on the first day with H2O and Life of Agony with Biohazard on the second day are definitely sets we’re looking forward to. Life of Agony hasn’t played in Jacksonville in almost 20 years.

How did Jacksonville respond after the first SEBF? Does the city support you guys and the festival?

Rory: It speaks volumes about the state of the music scene in Jacksonville with so many smaller independent festivals popping up and festivals like Welcome To Rockville and Big Ticket routing major artists into the city. As promoters, we definitely wouldn’t be able to do this without the support of the city of Jacksonville.

Mike: We have had support from a lot of people we respect. People, like the crew from The Elbow venues have been incredible. We definitely have had some additional local sponsors get involved and we think it’s only going to get better. Of course you guys at Void are killer as we appreciate all you do for us and Jacksonville as a whole!

After this year, do you guys plan on doing the festival again? Where do you see the festival in the next five years?

Rory: As long as we can sustain the support that we have been receiving from music fans, we don’t see slowing down as an option. This festival will continue to be a yearly event. As far as five years down the line, we’d love to branch out into larger venues with even larger artists.

Mike: We are already talking about things for 2016. We strive to make it grow, but we’re careful to let it do so organically and not force the issue. In five years, we want to continue to get bigger names and maybe add another day. We also have plans for adding an additional fest or two within five years.

Tickets can be purchased at Ticketfly.com or from any local artists playing the festival. Visit the SEBF Facebook page for additional info.