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Lawnya Vawnya 13 Weird and Wired
Day 4: Saturday, June 10, 2023
HOW WE TAKE CARE:
A CONVERSATION ABOUT ACCESSIBILITY AND MENTAL HEALTH IN THE ARTS
Kate Lahey, Daze Jefferies, Frankie Teardrop, Cecile Believe
Hosted at MUN School of Music as part of Lawnya Vawnya 13, this panel is a must watch for event organizers and artists navigating how to keep themselves and others as safe as possible within their pursuits of art and community. The following is just an excerpt - Watch the entire conversation on YouTube.
How we take care … as event organizers
Creating safer spaces
“You can't just make a safer safe spaces policy, right? And then bada bing, bada boom, it's a safe space.” - Kate Lahey
“It's about having a clear message about what kind of event you're running” - Frankie Teardrop
The trend towards hiring accessibility/intimacy coordinators and safe space workers is a sign of progress
Organisers need to send a message that they’re open to listening and addressing issues - and be open to receiving feedback when it inevitably arrives
Getting it wrong is painful, but it’s part of the process
“As you're going through every single day of the festival, there's going to be a lot of feedback and you want to have the energy to like, listen.
“Sometimes I find out about things that have happened like a month later, and I'm like what the …? … You have to listen to the people that you’ve booked or that are in your crowd and take them seriously and do what you can so they feel they can come back. Make it really clear what your priority is.”
- Frankie Teardrop
“The trying itself is actually really vulnerable. I really appreciate organisers who have good stamina, because failing and letting people down and fucking it up is a natural part of trying.
- Kate Lahey
Looking after artists, volunteers, and other contributors
“We don’t need to be the busiest festival ever. We want it to be smaller and give everyone that’s part of Slut Island the things they need to feel comfortable and rewarded.” - Frankie Teardrop
“Live streams have changed my life. I'm connected to so many conversations that I would otherwise miss out on” - Daze Jefferies
“I get kind of ostracised accidentally. That makes me feel kind of embarrassed and singled out for asking for what I need … I just get really self conscious in those moments.” - Kate Lahey
Artists booked to play Frankie’s festival, Slut Island, are asked about their accessibility needs in advance. For example If they want to stay the entire weekend, Slut Island will cover that so they have a hotel room and they’re comfortable.
Accessibility riders and conversations about what artists need from an accessibility standpoint are a great step forward.. But artists can end up feeling socially ostracised
“My seat is over here, instead of with everyone else”
“I need a hotel room… but my hotel is 20 minutes away from where everyone else is staying”
Live streams can be life- changing for folks who can’t participate physically, giving them access to performance and conversations they would otherwise miss out on
As heard by Holly Knowlman
Quotes have been edited for length and clarity with full effort spent on communicating the speaker’s best intentions
Part Two: How we take care… as artists and performers
Part Three: How we take care … As partygoers, participants, humans with bodies
ROAD DOGS THE STATE OF TOURING IN 2023
Some things about band tours never change (the mental/physical wear-and-tear) while some have changed a whole lot (booking gigs via email or dealing with increasing inflation). At Alt Hotel, Sarah Harris moderated a discussion on the state of touring in 2023 between Duncan Jennings and Bria Salmena (of Bria), Sara Bortolon-Vettor (of Bonnie Trash), and Jacob Cherwick (of Sick Puppy). The musicians’ experiences range from playing to a couple people in a bar where the power went out to playing MSG.
All agreed organisation = key! Revisit your initial tour budget to write down exact amounts. The advice wasn’t only about finances. Sara stressed to take care of yourself and give the audience their money’s worth. Duncan doubled down: “Be kind to yourself!” Bria noted the pressure of being in a band and feeling like you have to drink, so “You take it seriously by taking care of yourself.” Jacob and Sara encouraged reaching out to musicians from places where you want to tour—Make friends! Build relationships! The panelists agreed that touring remains integral to band life. Streaming has changed music forever, but touring keeps musicians connected to the music lovers out there scattered across the world. So get out there and rock their asses.
- C.H. NEWELL
OPEN AIR PUNK SHOW
Trends may come and trends may go, but garage punk shows are forever.
The location: Eastern Edge.
Founded in 1984, EE is an artist-run centre located just around the corner from Lawnya Vawnya HQ. Even though it was a bit too damp for the planned open air punk show, there was more than enough room in the garage to host this afternoon’s lineup (alongside a big old pile of bricks).
The artists: El Toro, Crossed Wires, and Brandon Monkey Fingers.
Brandon Monkey Fingers kicked off the show with a kinetic set that got the crowd moshing. These youngsters are passionate, politicised purveyors of hardcore punk (with an occasional softer side), playing out in St. John’s at every opportunity. Their bio simply reads, “listen or die.” I choose… listen!
In from Halifax, NS, Crossed Wires won us over instantly with their 90s-inspired punky pop vibes, laced with driving drums, catchy, melodic, pedal-drenched guitar, and relatable, infectious lyrics. If you love any of these bands, you’ll most likely find a place in your heart for this catchy threepiece: L7, Hole, The Pixies, Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr.
Unfortunately, for this old(er) (sorta) punk, a schedule clash meant I couldn’t stay for headliners El Toro, so I had to settle for a rifle through their Spotify catalogue instead. Their awesome self-titled 2022 album serves up 9 songs in just 25 minutes and 43 seconds. I’ll be going back for second helpings of this tasty little melodic emo/post-hardcore snack. And there’s a song about Crocs!
The vibe: Free, all-ages show. No registration required!
Still distilling all of the stories and insights from this morning’s thought-provoking panel about accessibility in the arts, I was thinking about how important it is for festivals to program free shows like this one. And also how easy it can be to take for granted having access to the things you might need to register for an event, like an address, credit card, phone, or internet access. And also how much I love seeing babies wearing massive Bob the Builder noise protecting headphones at shows ❤️.
Love you punks,
- HOLLY KNOWLMAN
HOT GUM • WAMPUMS• PETER LANNON • WITH HOST NEWFOUND LAD
I spent a lot of time at The Ship before giving up drinking 13 years ago. I was still a closeted queer back then. So it’s a magical thing to return to The Ship for only the second time since getting sober/coming out and witnessing the sexy, silly beauty of Newfound Lad. Just 13 years ago, I rarely, if ever, heard of an artist like Newfound Lad—who straddles (wink, wink) the line between drag and burlesque—hosting a night at The Ship. Not knocking The Ship, either; it’s long been welcoming to artists and outsiders. But seeing Newfound Lad, in the middle of The Ship, strip down to little more than a sou’wester and nipple pasties while pouring a beer down his chest is a testament to how far queer artistry has come in the past decade, and how far the downtown St. John’s culture has come, too.
After Newfound Lad finished a horny number (your dad has never heard Great Big Sea like this!), Peter Lannon took the stage. I kept thinking Peter reminds me of Prince, clad in a leather jacket, white undershirt, and black pants with a flowery fabric tied around his waist. I had the pleasure of seeing Peter’s acoustic set at the Riddle Fence launch party Wednesday night, anticipating another singalong, which sounded even cooler with a saxophone this time around. His music sounds fresh while still inspired by the ‘70s and ‘80s; a mix of groove, passion, and sincerity.
The Wampums brought their two-piece brotherly peace and love (seriously, they’re twins!) to The Ship. Being in my teen years when The White Stripes hit big, I loved The Wampus, whose psychedelic rock has far different energy than Jack and Meg White’s two-person sound. The band’s name alone signifies the brothers’ deep connection to Indigenous culture: wampums are a specific type of bead used to tell stories and document history. Their sound is catchy and their energy is FUN.
Last band to play was Hot Gum. Their music at times felt like Metric, other times like The Cure if Robert Smith was more into dancing. A moody sound that also makes you want to get up and move your body. The crowd kept The Ship’s energy engaged and intimate while Hot Gum played, ending the evening on a high that carried me up the stairs onto Duckworth and back into the rain, wishing that Lawnya Vawnya never had to end.
- C.H. NEWELL
Design and Illustration by ELIJAH JANKA