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words by Mary Stankard / photos by Eric Flores

Growing up on Long Island, my relationship with any music community mainly happened via internet— staying up late on school nights dancing in my bedroom to new albums, reading liner notes sprawled out on the floor. It was a space I made for myself, exploring DIY communities from the comfort of my family’s desktop computer. The internet communities I cultivated as a high schooler also provided an outlet for discussing these findings, messaging my pen pals excitedly and gushing over things such as touring lineups and upcoming records. The right-hand column of an artist’s Bandcamp was where and how I had refined my musical tastes; a band’s recommendations page could navigate you through an entire city’s enclave of musical projects and artistic collectives.

That was how I had come across artists like Worriers and Japanese Breakfast, bands who I ended up booking to headline SUNY Purchase’s annual Up Yours Fest—my first time booking the fest, or any similar event, at the college I now attend. In fact, my years spent surfing the net for a new band and a new song were how I was able to come up with the lineup in its entirety. I was elated to immerse myself in a project I could’ve only dreamed of contributing to years ago. I was given the opportunity to interact with artists I had admired for most of my high school career— artists that helped myself and other listeners find a place for ourselves in the restrictiveness of a music scene. We were able to share anecdotes about the Long Island music community, a repressive place for a young queer person seeking out safer spaces.

Up Yours Fest was started in 2014 as a space to highlight the work on female, queer, and non-binary voices. In addition to sets by Worriers and Japanese Breakfast, this year’s fest featured performances by Anna Nasty, Greydolf, Vagabon, Cynthia Ann, Lady Queen Paradise and Snail Mail; plus tabling and workshopping by Letters from Bummer Camp, Gender Meltdown, Beast Grrl Zine and Eternal Slumber Party. Thank you to everyone for their unwavering support!

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