Ad•verse Fest in Athens spotlights southeast drag punks and indie musicians

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Ad•verse Fest is more than a two-day soiree boosting over 40 badass acts. It is a mindful creation of environments amping free expression within thought-provoking means. Not only will it be an array of sound and vision, there is one particular aspect that binds the variety of acts performing, and it is anything but typical of the standard fest fare. From Taylor Alxndr to Superbody, Jennifer Vanilla to Ripparachie, Ad-verse is oriented at showcasing both a vast scene of creative musicians in solo and duo acts.

“Karaoke is translated from Japanese as ‘Empty Orchestra’, which has a particular poetic quality to it. I think a lot of artists performing have this sort of poetic quality about them. Punk even,” sole organizer AC Carter says. AC has ideas and enthusiasm for days, aspects not just known to their musical work as a solo artist wunderkind Lambda Celsius and their quirky fashion designs, but for the community as well, which Ad-verse Fest is proof of. “This has been a strategy for performers across genre as a way to travel more easily and to focus on the other elements of the show as in stage props, costumes, lyrics,” AC explains. “Much of this is in step with variety shows, or the cabaret, which has been in the past spaces for queer folk to perform without retaliation. Neo-cabaret if you will.”

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Athens has always been a source of music, producing some of the most famous names like REM and B-52’s, and known for its kitschy Southern cool and art smarts. Alas, it is still a college town, sometimes dually known for its fratty football tomfoolery, an aspect the locals are a little too familiar with. Regardless of the fame that rose from the inventively rich 80’s music scene (documented superbly in Inside/Out), the act of creating safe spaces remains a decades long tradition. Luckily there are always groups who aim to do so and Ad-verse Fest is an example of the ways in which community consciously and cohesively curates beyond basic art’s sake to change the landscape of straight softboy squirms and dude rocker raunch.

“‘Adverse’ is a term used for those who are deemed deviant or unfavorable, and yet making this the focal, thinking for its ad•ditional quality to it. I'm so excited about sharing these artists and I think of ways in:  how do I underscore this scene of those who are making space for it? And who are those identities?”, AC muses. “I think actions speak louder than words and I hope that the form of this festival reflects its politics and content.”  Every single artist is amazing in their own regard musically and to have this scope of performers gathered together for audiences is truly exciting. AC Carter plans on doing another fest in 2020.

The schedule spans over two days, Friday March 1st and Saturday March 2nd, at three popular Athens venues:  Caledonia, Flicker and Go Bar. All shows start at around 8PM ending the night out around with DJs and drag shows. Go Bar will have the beloved DJ Mahogany Friday and the illustrustrious DJ La Cochino Saturday. The Kourtesans will perform Friday and Video Tronic’s Intrusive Thots on Saturday at Caledonia. At $15 for both days or $10 for one, this fest is well worth the trek for any neighboring Southeastern queers in need of a day trip, some good music and community warmth.




Sunni Johnson is the Arts Editor of WUSSY and a writer, zinester, and musician based in Atlanta, GA.