Queer, trans musicians of color launch new festival in Seattle

A brand new Seattle music fest launches this weekend, to kick off LGBTQ Pride month.

The creators say they didn’t see queer and trans people of color centered in other festivals, so they created their own.

Twinkle lights overhead, and a row of guitars on the wall, band members from SuperCoze huddle together for a practice session. Surf-rock swells through their small room at Crybaby Studios on Capitol Hill.

They’re prepping for their next show: the So Dreamy Music Festival.

The members of SuperCoze are QTBIPOC: queer, trans, Black, Indigenous, and people of color. Most have never played a music festival. That’s something their front-person Cody Choi has set out to change.

“I realized not only with my band that is entirely QTBIPOC, but a lot of other people’s bands that I know that are really great, that I look up to even, were not on these festivals or if they were they weren’t ever a headliner,” said Choi, who founded and created the new festival.

So, Choi’s event will put these bands on a main stage.

The So Dreamy Music Festival will feature 25 bands on Capitol Hill over two nights, June 4 and 5.

All bands are fronted by musicians who are queer, trans, or people of color. The lineup includes Black Ends, Mirrorgloss, Breaks and Swells, Day Soul Exquisite, Lemon Boy and more.

caption: Lineup of So Dreamy Music Festival on Capitol Hill, June 4th-5th 2022

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For Choi, it’s an antidote of sorts to the existing music festival scene in the Seattle area. They surveyed other local music festivals before putting this on, and Choi counted that on some of the lineups “it was like 70 to 80 percent entirely white bands.” Choi said they feel that queer BIPOC artists are sometimes tokenized in Seattle’s numerous mainstraim music festivals.

It’s why musicians on the So Dreamy lineup are thrilled about this opportunity,

Francesca Eluhu, who owns record label Le Fem and performs as Day Soul Exquisite, is performing Saturday.

“I think, especially for emerging artists, it can be a bit of a catch-22″ to get a festival spot, Eluhu said.

“Because a lot of venues want to have established artists, and if you’re not in the network…whether that be because you’re a person of color or you don’t have those contacts, it can be really hard to get festival placement.”

She said she’s a huge fan of Seattle’s Taking B(l)ack Pride event, Seattle Pride, and Pridefest, but that this serves a different need.

“A lot of burlesque performers and drag performers have been doing a great job of cultivating spaces like that in entertainment, but you don’t typically see this type of lineup in music venues,” Eluhu said.

The creators of So Dreamy are taking a page from queer and transgender organizers of the past.

LGBTQ people have long carved their own path toward equity, in the face of exclusion and discrimination, creating bars, counseling centers, and celebratory festivals as far back as 1930 in Seattle, when the gay-friendly Casino cafe opened.

But to Choi, the arch of LGBTQ rights is incomplete.

“I’m hoping that from this festival it might spark more inspiration for other people in the community to throw their own events.”

Choi said musicians shouldn’t “always be relying on bigger venues to be dictating what the scene’s doing, especially led by men who have been in the scene forever.”

“I think there’s a lot of gate-keeping towards queer, trans, Black and brown musicians.”

So Dreamy will orient directly toward the queer, trans, Black and Brown communities. It’s a ‘dream’ lineup for bands like SuperCoze, hence the name.

“It’s soooo Dreamy!” the band yells over each other in their practice studio.

The inaugural festival is split between Cafe Racer and Vermillion, and is all ages until 10 p.m. After that, it’s all about queer nightlife culture, including a house-ballroom competition, aka Drag Ball, Saturday night. Kings and Queens from the House of Chaos and House of Noir will run the show, which typically includes dance, pose, vogue, and/or runway competitions.

People can buy single or two day passes, or just a ticket to the ball, called the SeaTac Ballroom Ball.

Article Source: KUOW