Smash it Dead Fest has grown a lot over the past five years. The fest started in 2010 and was the brainchild of Sadie Smith (Peeple Watchin', G.L.O.S.S) and some friends. In 2011 the fest became collectively organized and has grown exponentially since then. Smash it Dead Fest started as a way to raise money for the Boston Area Rape Crisis center and to raise awareness about supporting survivors and preventing sexual assault in punk and diy. Last year the fest raised $5,789 for BARCC, this year we hope to raise even more.
Every year the fest has grown in different ways as we as organizers and as a community address different issues. What started as a fest focused on supporting survivors and preventing sexual assault has grown to tackle even more issues like male privilege, racism, sexism and the like. As the fest continues annually we continue to ask ourselves important questions like how to make space for a variety of different folks who represent a variety of different experiences. Mostly we've learned (and are still learning) how to listen.
RELATED: An oral history of Smash it Dead Fest, by the 2014 fest coordinators, from ISSUE 31 of The Media
There will be many opportunities for active listening this year at Smash it Dead Fest outside of listening and watching bands perform. There will be four workshops happening over the course of the weekend that will provide attendees with the opportunity to listen to new ideas in addition to new music. On Saturday BARCC is presenting a workshop on Responding to Disclosures, which will focus on supporting survivors by emphasizing safety, empowerment, empathy, and knowledge. Saturday's workshop on Deconstructing Anti-Blackness led by Monkia was unfortunately canceled due to logistical travel reasons but you can read more about what that crucial workshop would have covered in the interview included in this issue. On Sunday Kiana and Meghan will lead a workshop on the basics of live sound, in which they will go over how how to use a sound board, mic placement and getting the sound you want out of your equipment. After BARCC will be leading an Active Bystander workshop in which they will go over how to safely act to challenge inappropriate sexual and violent behaviors in one's community.
We think it's important for people to come together and raise money for an important cause and the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center is an important organization and resource here in Boston. It's also important to create space for folks who represent identities that are often ignored in mainstream music, underground music, and society in general. A goal of the fest is to highlight performers that are queer, artists of color, women, trans, etc. We've spent the past ten months fundraising and planning for this weekend. Most of the funds were raised in the form of local benefit shows that reflect the goals of the fest. As organizers, we've learned that it takes a lot of energy and intention to create shows that deviate from what is considered and accepted as the norm -- shows that primarily feature straight, white, male artists. Someday we hope that a variety of diverse shows will happen organically and that the valid critiques of many will be heard, respectfully. But until then we work to book shows and support artists that we believe in so we can all work towards a new normal.
Shout out to the organizers of fests with similar goals to ours who inspire us endlessly like Think and Die Thinking, Black and Brown Fest, Fed Up Fest, and all the Ladyfests and Clitfests that happen everywhere. And shout out to all the people in Boston who are fighting the good fight like Show Mom Collective, Grandma's Haus and Break the Chains, just to name a few. The fest has become more than just a single weekend that happens once a year, it's become a reminder of what's important and how we can work together to create a space for ourselves and others everyday. Thank you to everyone that has helped this fest grow over the past few years, none of this would be possible without the support from all of you. We are stoked to smash it dead with you all this weekend, this week, this year, next year, forever.
The Smash it Dead Collective
Ali, Chelsea, Diana, Gen, Matthew