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The Drop – Queer Parties Across the Globe

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Across the globe, Queer Parties are creating inclusive dancefloors within their local underground music scenes. A place of joy and of resistance, these spaces are vital in supporting LGBTQ+ people and the next generation of queer creatives.

We spoke to five musicians from different parts of the world and asked them to highlight Queer Parties that have made an impact on themselves as artists, and on their local scene. 

FEMMES & THEMS, Cape Town, South Africa 

 

South Africa’s queer party scene serves as a beacon of queer joy and inclusivity. The best queer party I have been to is Femmes and Thems, based in Cape Town. This is because the true essence of inclusivity and acceptance among the queer POC youth in Cape Town shines through on Femmes and Thems dance floors. My highlight of Femmes and Thems is always the music because with genres changing every hour, it’s difficult to peel yourself off the dancefloor. From Gqom to House, to Pop and R&B, the music at the party can transport you to another world.

Femmes and Thems are unique because of its phenomenal multi-genre DJ curation and embracing audience. These events foster an environment of self-expression and safety while continuously offering electric music and a collective sense of belonging. Femmes and Thems are committed to impacting the community through their effort in creating DJ Workshops which cater to queer POCs. 

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PLANO, Porto Alegre, Brazil

 

In the south of Brazil, July is often referred to as an “endless winter”, especially this year, as we face a rainy season like we haven’t seen in years. However, PLANO didn’t seem scared of the rain when they scheduled a double-feature party to celebrate their 6-year anniversary as an underground collective. The first half of the event took place on the street, in an otherwise peaceful part of Porto Alegre. “Clubber prayers are the strongest”, another DJ told me as I unpacked my gear to play my set.

Immune to the threat of torrential rain (which in fact, didn’t happen) a crowd of hardware jewellery-wearing people danced to what the lineup of DJs (all of which were trans or non-binary) had to offer: sounds reaching from breakbeat, hyper pop and Brazilian funk boomed across the sea of colourful hairstyles.

In this edition, PLANO partnered with Calçada Queer, an art fair that features queer and trans artists, who set up their booths and sell original pieces. In the Brazilian state that kills the most transgender people, PLANO manages to create an environment of belonging, hard-hitting bass, creative outfits, and unapologetic self-expression.

 

METAMOUR, Kenya, Africa

The best queer party I have been to was courtesy of Metamour which is a queer collective whose mission for hosting gatherings is centred around care, accessibility and community. They do this by organising zero-profit events with the aim of prioritising financially accessible events for all queer Kenyans, as well as by having curation centred around promoting genuine connection, radical love and acceptance so as to provide active support and care for the queer community. At these events, you can find neo-jazz, soul, spoken word, Afro-house, and tech house playing.

My favourite party of theirs however was in early December 2021, where we collaborated on the Launch party for my Last EP Purge. It was an intentional garden party hosted in Kikuyu at the 254 Breweries grounds and was beautifully curated with different artistic performances by various jazz musicians, rappers and poets. We also invited various queer vendors from different disciplines to share their work (jewellery, paintings, queer merch, food etc). I also showcased quite a few props I had created for a few of my music videos for the drop which made the experience even more fulfilling to be part of.

 

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BOOTY BASS, Bristol, UK

Booty Bass, from its inception, has been built by the community. It started in a small local pub in Bristol where the Easton Cowgirls would come after their football training. From the first unofficial Booty Bass, they were number one fans and brought their friends (and friends of friends) every month until it became the flagship night it is today. From then until now it has been a space that celebrates women and non-binary people, from the queer and straight communities, that want to dance to music from across the globe, predominately with West African Diasporic roots. It’s also an intergenerational space and one that is really clear with its mission and values.

We dance for ourselves, not for the entertainment of others, and because of this, all of our parties are spearheaded with a ‘no touching without permission’ policy, making it a safer, more enjoyable space for everyone.  Seeing how many barriers we’ve broken down just by being unapologetically ourselves has been incredible. 

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Before Booty Bass, there wasn’t a black, female-led, queer crew who could be unapologetically themselves running takeovers across the festival scene, the carnival scene and the queer scene. Knowing that we can be our fully layered selves and not have to code-switch in order to be respected or accepted has been the highlight of growing this event. 

The music, the community and the vibe make Booty Bass unlike any other.

There are a lot of incredible queer parties out there and we all have our own way of doing things. We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without others having paved the way for us, and equally we’ve taken inspiration from other like-minded collectives to make what we do the best it can be. I think what makes our parties what they are, are the people who come to them. Everyone just wants to have a great time! It’s about partying for yourself, not to be looked at. We expect, nay demand, that you break multiple sweats throughout the night. It’s not about looking pristine, it’s about letting the music get under your skin and take you to another plane. It is not an exclusive event, it’s an inclusive one where everyone is welcome as long as they are kind and respectful and love to dance. The music we play all comes from a mix of our ancestral backgrounds and local communities as well as our travels.

We’ll start with some Dancehall, Latin, Reggaeton, Dembow moving into Afrobeats, Amapiano, GQOM, Tribal, amping up into some Carnival vibes, UK Funky, Garage, Baile Funk, Brazilian beats, getting bassier from Grime, Garage and Dubstep to some Footwork, Jungle, Drum & Bass and anything else that might find it’s way in there, as long as there’s a Bassy undertone and a rhythm that makes you want to shake your Booty!

 

The biggest impact I think Booty Bass is having in Bristol and on the festival/entertainment scene, in general, is showing that not only are these spaces necessary – ones that highlight our Blackness and/or our Queerness – but that people will come to see women and non-binary people DJ.

I’ve worked in the music industry for a while and whenever I would challenge promoters about why they were constantly booking the same white, cis, het men and paying them an arm and a leg more than anyone else, I would be told that ‘they’re the ones who sell the tickets’. Well yes, but only because you won’t invest in anyone else. Promoters look at what we’re doing and see that we have created a formula that works, where people feel seen and celebrated for their uniqueness. Venues see that our crowds are the nicest that they have and our communities see that we appreciate and love them for who they are.

 

EN1GMA, Madrid

 

Even if the party is not explicitly associated with the queer community, its charming environment, music curation and how the public behaves at the party soon caught the attention of the queer community in Madrid. The first time I went in, a powerful feeling came to me: this was the place to be. From 3D visuals to rave rhythms in a huge space that created an enveloping atmosphere to dance and express yourself without fear of judgment.

En1gma brings new sounds to Spanish club cultures such as Guaracha and Aleteo, combined with well-known sounds like Hard Dance, Hardcore, Ghetto Tek and Electro. In her first year of programming, EN1GMA made magic lineups with Valentina Izumi, Ojzeane, Horsegirl, Joao Lagrima De Ouro, Dj G2G, Eargasm, Indecorum, Miss Bashful x DBBD, Nastyna, Evil Grimace, CRRDR or Karne Kulture.

 

-Orfigyal (Follow on Instagram)

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