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They're fed up with "racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, ableism, capitalism, and all other fucked-up 'isms' and 'phobias,'" according to their Facebook event page. In particular, they're fed up with the oppressive attitudes they've encountered in the punk scene, and they've decided to do something about it. They put together the three-day Fed Up Fest—which kicks off Friday at the Co-Prosperity Sphere in Bridgeport—to create a safe space where queer and transgender voices in punk can be celebrated.
For people unfamiliar with the queercore community and its politics, the fest will also be a good place to learn. Ephran Ramirez Jr., a Fed Up Fest coalition member better known as Monkey Molotovs, says that on Saturday there will be free educational workshops, tablings, and readings before the performances.
The lineup includes bands from Chicago, New York, elsewhere in the U.S., and Canada. Local "pissed-off hardcore" band Anomaly, who play on Sunday, teamed up with Fed Up Fest because they believe queer and transgender voices are underrepresented or dismissed in punk. Guitarist Alex Beyer says, "I think it's really cool . . . to showcase a bunch of bands that have those identities or those politics because a lot of punks in hardcore are very white-cis-male centered." The fest's coalition received applications from a number of bands whose members are all straight allies of the queer and trans communities, but Ramirez says Fed Up accepted only groups with queer voices—after all, that's the whole point of the event.
New York punk band Aye Nako are excited to return to Chicago for the fest. Lead guitarist and vocalist Mars Dixon says they felt had to play Fed Up Fest because it's part of their scene—all the band's members are either queer or transgender. "I feel like I never really fit in with the general punk scene, just for being superqueer and not being a white person," says Dixon. "I was always hungry for finding punks who looked more like me, felt more like me."
The fest's organizers stress that their objective is for this to be a safe environment for everyone. "We're not going to tolerate any forms of oppression in the space, verbally or physically or in any manner whatsoever," Ramirez said. "We want people to feel both represented and welcome, because we know that the punk and hardcore scenes can be very alienating for certain individuals." They outlined a "perpetrator accountability statement" on their event page for people who come to the event to cause trouble.
The inaugural Fed Up Fest runs July 25 through July 27 at the Co-Prosperity Sphere, 3219 S. Morgan. Weekend passes are $30, and single-day tickets are $10 for Friday, $15 for Saturday, and $12 for Sunday. All proceeds go to Project Fierce Chicago, which aims to secure housing for homeless LGBTQ youth.