Have you had enough of us saying not enough? Not enough of what? So glad you asked! Not enough women and queer people in punk and DIY music in New Orleans, of course. Getting from not enough to much more is the goal of zine publisher (and occasional ANTIGRAVITY contributor) Osa Atoe, who also created No More Fiction (NMF) in 2009. Inspired by the riot grrrl movement and preceding NOLA promoters like Girl Gang Productions (which put on queer punk and drag shows until 2006), Atoe started Not Enough Fest here in New Orleans. Debuting in the spring, the fest will feature all brand-new bands fronted by women or queer people.
Atoe decided to organize Not Enough Fest as part of furthering NMF’s mission and goals, namely supporting all-girl, mixed gender, female-fronted, queer and feminist DIY punk bands locally and nationally. NMF provides DIY (defined as “non-business, nonbar, all-ages”) show spaces for local and touring bands and have also held workshops exclusively for women, queer people and people of color to “encourage their participation in DIY music making.” Past workshop topics and skillshares have included music technology, how to play the drums and DJing vinyl records. Currently, NMF is focusing specifically on producing shows as benefits to raise money for and awareness of community social justice organizations and other local political causes.
Not Enough Fest is modeled after a festival of the same name started in Portland, now in its third year. Portland’s festival focuses specifically on the development of new queer (or, as they also say, “GLBTQXYZ”) music and arts, showing participants how to be “cultural creators” rather than consumers of music that do not reflect their experience. Atoe has adapted the general mission to fit the needs and realities of New Orleans by also including women-driven bands in the fold. She explains, “Women make up 50% of the population, they do not make up nearly 50% of the musicians [at] any of the shows I attend in this town. I am always hearing women expressing an interest in playing instruments or being in bands, but there still seems to be barriers in actually getting them to participate.” Both fests aim to “intentionally level the playing field” as all of the bands in the festival are playing for the very first time.
So, if you have always wanted to play but never have and don’t even own an instrument, how do you get started? That’s where Not Enough Fest steps in: they will provide everything you need to get your punk and DIY on, even if you’ve never picked up an instrument before. There will be a social mixer on January 17th where you can meet like-minded budding musicians. NMF and partners will provide instruments of all kinds (even drums) to share. Throughout the spring there will also be workshops and skillshares so you can get ready to rock for your very first show.
There is no formal process to apply; just start a band and let NMF know you are out there and ready to rage on stage for the first time. The only requirements are that the fest must be the band’s very first show and that at least half of the band is comprised of woman-identified or queer-identified people.
Still nervous? Atoe reminds us that, “All of the bands will be playing for the very first time. Hopefully this will serve as an encouraging atmosphere for beginning musicians who want to put themselves out there but feel too intimidated to jump on a show with bands who have been playing for a long time.”
Atoe also hopes that the bands debuting will last longer than that one show. “As someone who constantly sets up shows in New Orleans, finding local bands to put on a show can be hard. I have heard this from other DIY show bookers as well. I think that New Orleans could benefit from a burst of new bands all at once. Our local scene could use some rejuvenation and some new blood.”
The fest will also serve as a benefit show to raise money for and awareness of local community social justice organizations and political causes. Atoe explains, “Thinking critically about gender roles and sexism within the punk scene is important, but only insofar as it encourages people to think critically about social injustice in society in general. To me, punk has always been a political tool, punk music a vehicle for political ideas and punk shows a space for consciousness raising.”
Check out nomorefiction.tumblr.com/notenough for more info on the fest, including the upcoming mixers, workshops and skillshares. Interested in playing the fest this spring? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.