As summer kicks into high gear, festivals begin popping up around the Seattle area like honeysuckles. A little Capitol Hill Block Party here, some Day In Day Out there, a THING to add some zest, etc. Jumping into this lively mix is So Dreamy Fest, a new two-day music festival kicking off this weekend, dreamed up and carried out by Cody Choi of Seattle’s Supercoze.
So Dreamy Music Festival doesn’t have any major corporate sponsors, nor does it feature gargantuan national acts at the top of its billing. Rather, the fest runs in the vein of something like the Summit Block Party (R.I.P.) — smaller in scale and more DIY in nature.
Horn-infused soul-pop group Breaks and Swells, hip-hop artist CarLarans, gunk pop progenitors Black Ends, and electro-pop outfit Mirrorgloss will headline the festivities, which will be held in both Vermillion Art Gallery and Cafe Racer. Getting all these acts to play together created a "dream lineup," hence the name of the festival, Choi said.
A quick glance at the stacked lineup of 25 bands and performers reveals mostly local acts, all of which are fronted by queer and trans people of color. Choi said that curation was intentional. They started So Dreamy after seeing predominately white local bands getting consistent bookings at summer fests around the city while other mostly of-color bands got left behind. “I was frustrated with certain festivals having that atmosphere of ‘this is for everyone,’ when it didn’t feel like it's for everyone,” they said in a recent phone interview.
Often, playing at festivals gives smaller bands a platform to grow their audience, and the shows produce photos and videos artists can use to promote their next gig or else show as experience to get onto another festival billing. (All the photographers at the event are BIPOC.) Choi and their collaborators worked to pull off So Dreamy as a way to materially celebrate under-recognized bands in the Seattle area and kick off the summer music fest season.
“I wanted [So Dreamy Fest] to be focused on uplifting performers that sometimes are just pushed to being another slot, never a headliner or on top of the festival list,” they said.
In addition to the headliners, dozens of excellent performers round out So Dreamy’s lineup. You can catch the always excellent Ex-Florist conjuring up spells with their industrial experimental rap, mosh to the riot grrrl stylings of Lemon Boy, rock out with Seattle's foremost goth-punk band Dark Smith, and bounce to singer-songwriter-rapper Da Qween's smooth bars. On Saturday, stay for a late night SeaTac Ballroom Alliance function that kicks off at midnight and goes until 2 am. If the buying spirit seizes you, the fest will also feature a market of local makers selling their wares. Overall, So Dreamy is shaping up to be two nights of local music goodness, one that's rooted in community and celebration.
“We don't need to wait for other people to make this space,” said Choi. “We can create our own space.”