Sean Agnew of R5 Productions/September 23, 2013
Joseph A. Gervasi interviews Sean Agnew of R5 Productions, Union Transfer, and now the Boot & Saddle bar (plus more). For those curious about how one of Philadelphia’s most significant music promoters began by presenting ska and hardcore punk shows with the help of his friends, this is an essential interview. Sean details it all, from growing up in a working class community, to taking the R5 regional rail line into Philly, to drawing inspiration from the WKDU DJs and mid-1990s DIY show promoters. In the 2000s R5 Productions put Philadelphia on the map when it came to providing well-organized, safe, and ethical shows that catered to all sorts of underground (and some decidedly overground) sounds. The national media as well as the University of Penn and L&I took notice. Now Sean’s involved with Union Transfer, the recently re-opened Boot & Saddle bar, and other venues throughout the city. We discuss how Sean attempts to keep the ethos of DIY punk alive in a projects that have grown far beyond the punk scene and how he hopes other, younger people will step up to organize and present shows in the city. Sean’s a sagacious and generous fellow; his contributions to Philadelphia are tremendous.