Womxn & non-binary artists take center stage at inaugural Local Behavior fest

Long after Eminem dropped his last diss on the final night of May’s Boston Calling, other smaller scale festivals are keeping the music ricocheting around town.

Specifically, newly curated mini-fests have been reigning supreme in Boston: Last month’s Wicked Good Festival, courtesy of WERS, sported some of Boston’s best musical talent; the first-annual ONCE Fest will welcome back guests on September 22, soon after the Somerville venue’s reopening; and on the heels of fellow womxn-forward festival Bust Out Boston, which takes over The Burren for much of September, Local Behavior will take place October 28 at City Winery. The intentional spelling of “women” as “womxn” for both events emphasizes the intersectionality of musicians across the board, from gender identity to race.

Put together by Kristina Latino of Cornerscape LLC, the one-day event features womxn and non-binary artists on both stages at the Bullfinch Triangle venue, including Catie Curtis, Dutch ReBelle, Billy Dean Thomas, Hayley Sabella, Elizabeth and the Catapult, Olivia Gatwood, Rehanna Fernandes Nunez, Jackie Giroux, and Avanti Nagral. More artists on the lineup will be announced closer to the festival date.

Latino said she initially got the idea for Local Behavior when reading about a radio rep who actually wanted fewer women artists played on the radio.

“I first got the idea for a festival like this back in 2015, when I was reading about a radio consultant who was advising against playing too much music by women artists on country radio,” Latino tells Vanyaland. “It was so offensive and ridiculous, and I thought organizing a festival of all women artists would be a really positive, powerful way to combat thinking like that. Over time, the concept changed and expanded — it became really important to me that the festival be multi-genre, and the idea of framing the festival as a jumping off point for more programming that promotes collaboration and mentorship between womxn artists became really key.”

For Latino, starting that initiative and setting an example here in Boston remained vital to her mission. Amongst the efforts of Bust Out Boston and the Femme Fatale concert series, representation for womxn and non-binary artists has become a welcome commonality on a local level, which Latino says she hopes will spark even more events in the same vein.

“I definitely think that intersectional feminism and celebration of work by womxn artists is in the global collective consciousness right now, but it’s an especially good time to start something like this here at home,” Latino adds. “There is a particularly rich and supportive community of womxn and non-binary leaders in our music scene right now — artists, booking agents, promoters, producers, you name it. It’s a great time to celebrate the music being made and work being done in this community. There is a lot of momentum around these kinds of events right now. It’s a self-perpetuating environment — I can’t wait for Bust Out Boston, and I can’t wait to see what kind of shows that event helps prompt. When people go to shows like Bust Out or Local Behavior, hopefully they see something on stage they want to see more of, and it prompts them to start something too.”

Going forward, Latino plans to host Local Behavior annually, paired with year-round events that will connect musicians to focus on skill-building, mentorship, and community.

“I think it’s really powerful to create a performance space where womxn and non-binary people are the majority — where we don’t have to think to ourselves ‘I’m the only one on the lineup, or on the production team,’ what have you,” Latino explains. “So often, womxn and non-binary people are made to feel like we must represent more than themselves. To me, it’s important to shine a light on the many womxn and non-binary artists who are making incredible music in an environment that is run by womxn and non-binary people on and off the stage.”

LOCAL BEHAVIOR MUSIC FESTIVAL :: October 28 at City Winery, 80 Beverly St. in Boston, MA :: Doors at 2 p.m., $25 to $100 :: Advance tickets :: Facebook event page:: Featured photo of Billy Dean Thomas by Tory Quinn