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Interview: Loud And Proud Festival 2024

Interview: Loud And Proud Festival 2024

C.C. / S.C. / Tuesday 30th January, 2024 12:00PM

Founded in 2019, Tāmaki Makaurau's Loud and Proud festival is back this Saturday, bursting at the seams with LGBTQIA+ experimental talent hopping between three Karangahape Road venues. We caught up with curator Tash van Schaardenburg, who generously squeezed in the time (while setting up their 4 Feet in the Dark installation at Western Springs Community Hall) to talk about the kaupapa of Loud and Proud and wax lyrical about this year's top notch lineup — "across the spectrums of gender, sexuality, and genre, under the sun and the moon" — brought to you by Audio Foundation in conjunction with Auckland Pride.

Loud and Proud Festival 2024
Featuring... P.H.F, Sequentia, WET STAR, Synthetic Children, O/pus, CODES, Roy Irwin, Hasji / Citacsy / Fern / Aaron Longville, Jess Robinson, Kraus, Baby Zionov
Saturday 3rd February - consecutive locations around Karangahape Road (Pitt St Church, Audio Foundation, Whammy Bar), Auckland

Festival passes on sale HERE via UTR (waged / unwaged options available)

What is the kaupapa for Loud and Proud?

Tash van Schaardenburg: Loud and Proud is showcase of experimental and underground LGBTQIA+ musicians. Yet even though this is an audience-based presentation, honestly what’s most important in my heart is that Loud and Proud 2024 is a festival created to be a temporary space for LGBTQIA+ musicians to enjoy together; play music, make new friends, be inspired, etc. Aotearoa’s music scene is rich with diverse performers that are often disconnected from the mainstream queer community events due to the nature of their art and it’s a very rare opportunity to get a group of us this big together at one event to take turns sharing ourselves through our sounds. As artists we need those human rewards of community support and solidarity. Being a LGBTQIA+ musician comes with extra challenges and consequently extra emotional labour. But it also benefits from the need for community leading to this Loud and Proud web of angels around Aotearoa who are devoted to protecting and uplifting each other to express their identity and music authentically. Many of the musicians playing at the festival this weekend are those sorts of people, with active roles in the scene as well as being music makers.

I believe experimental art practices resonate with LGBTQIA+ people because they often involve reshaping / reappropriating the mainstream or the norm, or searching for completely new possibilities. It’s similar to what individuals go through when they come to terms with their difference in identity and emotional experiences to the norm that they’re taught growing up. Most LGBTQIA+ people have to go through a very conscious and self-aware journey to inwardly / outwardly shape who the person they truly are is. For many this journey is always fluid and evolving.

Synthetic Children said something that really hit me around the time of their last album release last year about Bitch Whistle from Palmy North.“If I saw that when I was like sixteen, three people on a stage making a lot of beautiful, aggressive music, and expressing themselves and being openly trans, I think that I would have changed my life a lot quicker”. I feel like for LGBTQIA+ people, recorded music has been one of the most powerful channels we use to call out to each other through the darkness and celebrate our journeys.

But basically yeah, haha, it's a chance for artists and audience alike to celebrate a hefty handful of our first-rate LGBTQIA+ musicians, across the spectrums of gender, sexuality, and genre, under the sun and the moon, in locations along Karangahape Road. Sick.

Could you please talk about your own role as festival curator — how does the programme take shape? What kind of research / participation is involved in putting the lineup together?

Before I say anything about my role as festival curator, I just wanna credit Ary Jansen, Aaliyah Zionov and Alexandra Stone who ran Loud and Proud festival at the Audio Foundation from 2019 to 2021. They handed over the reins to me this year, after Nathan Joe from Pride started asking about the festival one night down at Audio Foundation and of course I couldn’t help but volunteer. There’s always some natural constraints around an event like this financially and timewise, especially when you’re organising it singlehandedly — all the way from curating the acts, booking venues to designing the poster and putting together the between-sets playlist. Thinking about that flexibly is what led me to compress the festival from two days down to one, but with the added twist of three consecutive venues.

I’ve made so many local LGBTQIA+ playlists for various reasons over the years, including for previous Loud and Proud festival promo, and that catalogue of artists is always growing as I compile a monthly recent releases list of local weird music on Of course, I asked so many mates for recommendations and went to some shows, cause seeing the artists live before I book them is really important. If I can’t do that I’ll ask someone I know who has seen them live for the goss. I’ve even got people to send me videos when I can’t go to a gig. As a promotor I’m always keeping my ear out and noting down musicians for moments like this.

I will say that since Covid / the ongoing artist exodus overseas, it has made it a little harder to book a lineup from an abstract community like this. Many members of the experimental and LGBTQIA+ music community have experienced physical and mental health consequences of the pandemic and stopped playing live as a result.

Do you have any specific inspirations for Loud & Proud 2024, locally or overseas?

Definitely just local inspo, the previous Loud and Proud festivals, all the LGBTQIA+ musicians putting out such incredible music all the time locally. That network of angels I mentioned before is really where it’s at though, that desire to create community together. On the line up we have Ce / Synthetic Children whose work with Tautai Tiny Club, Beatcamp and Radio Control has helped shape the current sound of Palmy’s live music scene and build safer spaces; Grace / Sequentia who runs Related Articles — a platform that has helped LGBTQIA+ musicians sounds cross the oceans onto the decks of DJs at major international festivals, Hasji / Bridge Shoebridge from Community Garden and 95bFM, plus people like Kraus and Beth from O/Pus who have contributed hugely to the experimental scene for longer than I was going to gigs… It’s all those LGBTQIA+ people whose presence and performance inspires nonconformists — and those who might see them and catch the flame to find their place on the stage — that inspire Loud and Proud 2024.

Whereabouts is Loud and Proud happening this year? Is there an 'arc' or 'progression' to the timetable / themes for each location?

The Pitt Street Church show is designed to be a deep listening, mediatory, relaxing vibe to start the festival off — a time to let your curiosity bathe in the sounds/setting and to let any anxiety be released from your body.

After that it’s over to the Audio Foundation on Poynton Terrace, where we have a courtyard outside the downstairs smoking area — there’s gonna be a sausage sizzle, and there will be a couple of DJ sets and a banner for people to draw on to decorate the stage at Whammy. It’s meant to be like a laidback vibe to recharge while we bring the beat up and get everyone moving their bodies again after soothing them at the church.

Then of course after the festival rocks up St Kevin’s steps over to Whammy main room to just like. Go full whole hog aye.

Maybe a tricky question — are there any particular artists you're looking forward to seeing perform (without naming all of them)?

I’m so excited to hear Jess Robinson in the Pitt Street Methodist Church. Churches are built to have this really glorious acoustic sound to them and I think it’s just the perfect venue for her. It’s O/Pus’s third gig and their last two were addictive so I’m not even holding back saying I’m pumped to see them for the third time in two months. Oh yeah and P.H.F is gonna play his whole unreleased album. I mean what can I even say. It’s all gonna be so so special.

What's the best way to hear these artists in advance, to get pumped for the festival?

Here’s where you can stream them all from the browser, in consecutive order of ambient to doofiness depending on whether you need to pump up or wind down pre-festie.

More links & bios here:


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Loud And Proud Festival
Sat 3rd Feb 2:00am
Whammy Bar, Auckland