KEXP Suggests: Protest Fest 2018

Interviews, KEXP Suggests
Martin Douglas

President’s Day is this Monday, February 19th, which in 2018 carries a mostly different meaning than it has in the past. Our current sitting president has somehow unprecedentedly created a culture of division and tension, foisting upon the American people a combination of an uber-conservative and exclusionary worldview with a blinding dedication to the antics presented during his tenure as host of The Apprentice.

To coincide with this year’s holiday, Do206 will be presenting the first-ever Protest Fest, a showcase of some of the best music Seattle has to offer in a crop of benefit shows with a special President Trump-themed pop-up dinner hosted at Addo Seattle by Chef Eric Rivera (which, appropriately, features a dish called “Caul-usion,” caul fat-wrapped foie dusted with Cheeto powder) on Sunday, February 18th.

On Monday, several venues across town -- Barboza, Bar Sue, Chop Suey, Nectar, Tractor Tavern, and The Woods -- will host some excellent line-ups of local bands in support of non-profit organizations such as Planned Parenthood, ACLU, the Southern Poverty Law Center, Union Gospel Mission, Sierra Club, and the Anti-Defamation League, each charity selected by the curators of each venue’s activities.

To support the variety of non-profit organizations being benefitted, there is a wide range music to choose from and paths to take. For instance, do you want brooding psych-punk? Check out Moon Human at Chop Suey. Would you like to explore both the cosmos with SassyBlack and the deepest part of your soul with Sera Cahoone? They’ll both be sharing a bill at the Tractor. Astro King Phoenix will be spitting raps on a plane of higher consciousness at Barboza. Motown on Mondays will be spinning records at Bar Sue. And that list is just a small handful of the artists filling the airwaves with sound on Monday night.

We reached out to Do206’s Austin Santiago to give some insight about Protest Fest, and here is what he had to say:

How did the idea for Protest Fest come about?

Protest Fest started as an idea from Do206 Co-owner Scott Porad. We meet once a week and he mentioned the name, which I thought had a certain ring to it. Although the idea was far from fleshed out, the name always stuck in my head as something worth developing. Flash forward many months later, President's Day popped up on my radar as a good potential day to put this idea into motion. Why not have a citywide day of action championed by the many incredible and diverse music communities here in Seattle? After the date was set, I began to reach out to venues and curators to help make the dream a reality.

How did the idea come to fruition (how did the acts, venues, etc. come together)?

The idea really came to fruition with the addition of curators. At each venue, we have a dedicated team that is handling the bulk of the heavy lifting. Talent buying, production, execution is all being handled by the curators and venues. Without the venues, promoters, and bands donating their time and energy, this event doesn't happen. Curators and venues also chose the charities they wanted to see their event benefit.

Do you see Protest Fest becoming an annual thing even if we don't have a sitting president as actively divisive as the one we have now?

The thing about this idea is it isn't limited by ruling political party. This is a positive protest, one that can help raise money for non-profits regardless of the man at the top being a friend or a foe. Do206 being part of large network of cities under the umbrella of DoStuff Media we hope to expand this idea to many cities next year. The potential fiscal impact -- if we could make it even 10 or so of our sister properties become part of this event next year -- is pretty staggering. Money doesn't just talk, it yells at the top of its lungs from a bullhorn. Let's continue to change the narrative of what a protest is and raise money for great non-profits in the process.

Protest Fest 2018 is happening all around the city on Monday, February 19th. Get your tickets here.

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