The inaugural edition of Promowest Fest is finally almost here. And while the first installment of this three day music festivals boasts impressive top line names such as Noel Gallagher, Ryan Adams, Snoop Dogg, Brand New and Modest Mouse, part of the fun of any music festival experience is checking out new artists. Sure they might play earlier in the day, but they normally play on smaller stages where it’s less crowded and there’s more room to dance and easier to get close to the stage. So while you’re catching big acts like Garbage, don’t forget to seek out some new bands. Here are some bands to check out that might be flying under your radar:

Black Pistol Fire

This Austin based heavy blues duo kicked off my Lollapalooza 2015 experience last year on the BMI stage, and boy, what a start it was. This two piece guitar and drums knows how to kick up a ruckus with tasty riffs and pounding rhythms. If we’re lucky maybe they’ll do their cover of Nirvana’s “School”. Catch them at 4:15 on Sunday on the Columbus Makes Art stage. – Keith Adams


Listening to Des Moines’ Holy White Hounds, you’re likely to hear shades of bands whose CDs you still own (yeah, CDs, not the digital MP3 files sitting on your iPhone) – not exactly a dated sound (guitar-rock never goes out of style), but nowhere close to the keyboard-driven dance-pop that has been passed off as “alt rock” the last 4 or 5 years. The single (“Switchblade”) reminds me of Local H, particularly the vocals, while songs like “Gaver Water” and “Blind” almost sound like Beck fronting Presidents of the USA. Whether they’re playing festivals like Promowest Fest and Bunbury or doing a month worth of dates with The Cult (like they did in March and April), Holy White Hounds are a good band to catch the attention of those who show up early in hopes of snagging a good spot for a headlining act later on. You can catch Holy White Hounds on the Columbus Makes Art stage at 2pm on Saturday. – Chip Midnight


When looking for a festival last year that catered more to people my age (40s) than kids, I stumbled upon the Moontower Music Festival in Kentucky. While I didn’t end of up making it to that fest, I did discover a few bands that, while not new, were to me. Moon Taxi is one of those bands and I was surprised to learn that early on, they were in the jam-band scene and playing shows with the likes of Galactic, Gov’t Mule,  and Umphrey’s McGee. A song like “Year Zero” almost sounds like it belongs on an Imagine Dragons or Mutemath album. This Nashville band seems to be a natural fit on festival stages (they’ve done the Summer Camp Music Festival in Illinois, Birmingham’s City Stages Festival, 10,000 Lakes Festival in Minnesota, The Hangout Music and Arts Festival and Bonnaroo among others) and will undoubtedly get the Promowest Fest crowd moving when they play the Columbus Makes Art Stage at 3pm on Sunday. – Chip Midnight


If you’re planning on catching the Black Lips’ set this weekend, make sure to get there early to catch up and comers PUPIf this band hasn’t toured with FIDLAR yet, they should really get on that. They conjure up wasted days and wasted youth with frenetic guitars as good as any other melodic punk band you’re likely to find. PUP performs at 2:30 on Sunday on the Pepsi Stage. – Keith Adams


I feel like local guys Way Yes haven’t been around town for a minute so I’m pretty excited that they’ll be appearing at PromoWest Fest. Way Yes plays a refreshing mix of global-rhythm dance indie pop that’s perfect for a small club. That said, they’re not just some simple dance band, their 2013 album deals with very real life subjects including death, depression and emotional recovery and it’s a must listen to before their appearance at Friday night at 1am on the Afterparty Stage at A&R Bar. – Rachael Barbash


This bluesy local three piece is no stranger to playing for big crowds. From touring with Alabama Shakes to Catfish and the Bottlemen, they proved their ability to woo a crowd with their gorgeous harmonies and raucous psych sound. You won’t want to miss them before they hit the big time and leave lil ole Columbus behind. Check them out at 11 pm on Saturday at the A&R Afterparty Stage.” – Annalisa Hartlaub