By Jenna Lee Williams
EDMONTON — After months of preparation from community-minded individuals, Not Enough Fest (NEF) will run in Edmonton on February 28th. With a mandate to “encourage the participation of woman-identified, queer, trans and non-binary individuals in music by helping to address barriers that may stop people from getting involved in their local music scene,” the group organizing it has been snowballing since last summer. Cities such as Portland, New Orleans and Winnipeg, Chicago, Vancouver, and Austin have hosted NEF; it is now Edmonton’s turn to showcase between 10 and 12 new bands (formed specifically for this event) in an inclusive, safe, accessible and anti-oppressive environment. To learn more, we touched base with the organizers of Edmonton’s version, including Corby Burnett, Stacy Burnett, Kendra Cowley, Stacey Hyde, Nicola Inman, Stephanie Olsen and Jenna Turner. All of them have been hard at work, raising equipment and funds through workshops, shows and mixers.
BR: What type of bands will be playing this festival? Can you tell me about some?
Kendra Cowley: Pop punk, folk, singer-songwriter; noise-punk, noise, hardcore; we were super lucky to preview a few of the projects at the noise workshop last weekend and I was mega impressed. In December we held a meet-up for people who were really excited to participate but still had not found bands, the group that formed out of that meet up has worked very hard and seem to have really connected: I can’t wait to see what they come up with. According to Caitlin, one of the band members, they are calling themselves: “feminist punk with screamo sensibility.”
BR: What do you think sets the Edmonton chapter of Not Enough Fest (NEF) apart from past NEF events that have occurred in other cities?
Corby Burnett: Every NEF seems to be unique although the inspiration is the same. Some festivals have had more of an arts focus, where the Edmonton NEF focuses largely on the musical aspect. While we have had a zine workshop and get to tap into our community for art for event posters, our focus is largely on how that art relates to music. We have also held gear drives, and even acquired a jam space for NEF participants to use free of charge (which, as far as I know, has not happened in other cities). Some cities have also formed bands that are comprised largely of queer, women, non-binary or trans folks. We want to see new bands comprised entirely of that demographic! That being said, we are not necessarily trying to set ourselves apart; the NEF model is wonderful, and we are so happy for the inspiration. Seeing how other cities have modeled the fest has been very informative, and a wonderful resource for how we decided to model the Edmonton NEF!
BR: Do you think this will become an annual event? What does the future have in store?
KC: We would love to see NEF become an annual event, whether or not we will be the ones organizing has yet to be determined. There are so many amazing people invested in creating a safe [or] safer and more inclusive music community in Edmonton that I have no doubt someone will step up to make sure NEF remains part of that project. Something that was very important to the organizers from the beginning was laying down the foundation for sustainable community building that would extend beyond the festival.
Check out Not Enough Fest on February 28th at McKernan Hall. The venue is accessible and all ages. Click here to read more about the events leading up to NEF.AB, Alberta, LGBT, McKernan Hall, Not Enough Fest