Honey Groove will take place on April 11 at the Blind Whino SW Arts Club. This music festival, the first of its kind in D.C., will showcase queer artists of color. Honey Groove Founder Kyrisha Deschamps has spent a year forging partnerships with performing artists, visual artists, DJs, photographers, food trucks, and vendors for things like vintage clothes and jewelry. She says, “Queer artists cover the entire gamut in the arts and I want to show off a little bit of everything.”
DJs MIM, Lady Ryan, Natty Boom, Villagechild, and Kryptk will be spinning in a dance lounge downstairs. On the main stage, Chocolate City Burlesque will perform during the VIP reception and artists including Marcus Webb, Danni Cassette, and The CooLots will be rocking out the rest of the night. Over the evening, 12 performers will take the stage.
Visual artists Ginnie McKnight, Shanell P. Kitt, and Sekayi Fernandez will be painting live. Kayon Cox will body paint live models and in the courtyard E. Kairo Miles will construct an interactive installation. Deschamps says, “A small, queer village will pop up. There’s art everywhere.” She recommends bringing cash beyond the cover charge because vendors will have art, clothing, cupcakes, jewelry, and other handmade goods available for sale.
Deschamps also got the community involved in launching the festival and getting the word out. She carried out an Indiegogo campaign, which included a video produced by Qwest Films that raised over $7,000.
The Cocoa Couch Collective is producing the event. The Collective includes Deschamps as well as T. Jonae Davis, Lisa Gomes, and Lee Levingston Perine. Deschamps recruited them for their talents and extensive experience with events, marketing, and promotions. She pulled them together when she realized that she was never going to be able to attend the kind of event she really wanted to unless she created it herself. There are a lot of small clubs around the area catering to independent artists, but “one thing that’s missing is a queer presence on stage at these local festivals. It seems so simple and an idea people will really love.”
That being said, she’s adamant that everybody is invited and welcome. The spotlight is on queer people of color, but they’re performing for anyone who loves art, wants to experience something different, and be a part of history.
“I want the trans community. I want allies and folks of all races and ethnicities. I want everyone who loves queer people to show up,” says Deschamps. Just leave the kids at home; Honey Groove is a 21+ event. She hopes this inaugural event will quickly become an annual highlight in D.C.
Honey Groove is happening Saturday, April 11 at Blind Whino SW Arts Club, located at 700 Delaware Ave SW, Washington, D.C. 20024. For more information, the full line up of performers and vendors (updated daily), and to buy tickets, visit http://www.honeygroovedc.com/.