While some festivals center around performers of a certain genre, the second annual Ad•verse Fest will feature mainly single or duo artists. The festival will take place at both the Athens Institute for Contemporary Art and Caledonia Lounge on March 6 and 7. This year’s artists will perform a wide range of genres, including electronic, revived 80s synth wave, experimental, ambient, techno and pop. The festival will end each night with a two-hour DJ set.
Only two artists — Diatom Deli and Mischa Lively — are returning from last year. Mischa Lively will host a DJ set instead of performing an electronic piece. AC Carter, the organizer of Ad•verse Fest, wanted to expose the audience to another diverse set of artists, different from ones they might have seen last year.
As both a fan and an artist, Carter reached out to artists who inspired them, including Los Angeles-based performance artist Dynasty Handbag and Oakland, California’s Wizard Apprentice. They also invited artists they have played with, including Mischa Lively, Stacian and Buddy Crime. While some performers are local artists, including Josey (F.L.E.D.) and John Kiran Fernandes, others hail from Atlanta, Tennessee, Kentucky and Massachusetts.
As a curator, Carter said they wanted to control the flow of the festival and choose what they wanted to share with the audience, so they decided on a smaller lineup. Last year, the audience had more of a choice to go to whichever venue they shared a “certain energy or vibe” with, but Carter learned it became overwhelming.
Alden DiCamillo, a freelance arts writer who will cover Ad•verse Fest for Flagpole Magazine, Wussy Magazine and a queer gender non-conforming promotion space called This is Earheart, attended last year’s festival. As a writer specializing in covering “queer southerness,” they wanted to cover Ad•verse Fest because it represented a unique, creative, kinship-identity found in the South, DiCamillo said. DiCamillo also admired Carter’s interdisciplinary work, which involves music, art and fashion.
“There’s just this complete bypassing of what we might consider normal, heteronormative, cisgendered stuff,” DiCamillo said, “It’s inclusive and AC works hard to make sure people are compensated and seen.”
Anna Staddon, a musician who plays in the band Scooterbabe, helped Carter with the festival last year by stage-managing Caledonia Lounge for both nights of the festival. This year she’s assisting Carter with logistics and operations. She looks forward to using the festival to increase visibility for queer, transgender and non-binary artists.
For both DiCamillo and Staddon, Ad•verse Fest is a response to the lack of nonbinary visibility in the mainstream music industry.
“We have our token lesbians and a couple gay folks but queer, trans, nonbinary is still working to find visibility and that’s really what I see in Ad•verse Fest,” DiCamillo said.
College towns like Athens, where many venues tend to rely on alcohol sales to make profits, “tend to draw a certain kind of audience consistently,” Staddon said. This means scenes like Ad•verse Fest need to form in order for people to have a place to express different ideas “or else we’ll just have a very stagnant and boring art scene,” Staddon said.
Carter looks forward to watching the performances and hopes the audience members will leave the show with a lasting memory after the festival ends.
“I want people to have a good time and be entertained. Base line: Was it worth it?” Carter said.
Attendees can pre-order tickets for $20 and buy single-day passes on the day of the show for $15 and two-day passes for $25. In order to keep up with any updates to the lineup, they can follow the Facebook event post.