In Haunt

Celebrating alternative music, queer culture and all things weird and wonderful – it’s Fat Out Fest 2020 – taking place across Halloween weekend (30 October – 1 November), featuring a range of cutting-edge artists including Lone Taxidermist, Iceboy Violet and Optimo.

The three-day festival will be broadcast online, in partnership with IMPATV, meaning that audiences can enjoy experimental performances, intriguing artistry, queer creativity and so much more… from home! This is a delightfully distinct and daringly different way to enjoy the spooky season, made possible with support from Arts Council England, Salford City Council, Islington Mill and Samarbeta.

Sadly the festival’s socially distanced live events have had to be cancelled due to Greater Manchester’s COVID Tier 3 restrictions but anyone who bought a ticket will be automatically refunded. 

Fat Out Fest Logo

2020’s edition marks the 9th year of Fat Out, founded as a DIY punk festival at Islington Mill back in 2011. It has since grown from strength to strength, supporting and connecting with alternative creatives from a range of backgrounds, championing self-expression, experimentation and innovation across music, art and performance. That the festival is still continuing this year and free to watch online (with tickets for the screening of Keyboard Fantasies available on a pay-what-you-can basis) highlights how Fat Out continues to uphold creative collaboration and connection, even during difficult times.

Cutting-edge content and special creative work is on the cards, as the celebrations open on 30 October with a new commission from Birmingham-based noise trio Pretty Grim, selected following an open call in partnership with the Samarbeta residency programme. An immersive AV experience is in the planning, as Pretty Grim (pictured below: image by Sam Wood) have been working with queer experimental music and art platform Queef, to create not just entertainment, but an experience! This will be followed with an impressive 4-hour afterparty, broadcast from Salford’s iconic White Hotel and featuring Glasgow electronic legends Optimo.

By Sam Wood

A celebration of the North is the theme for Saturday, with a strong regional line-up exploring all things weird and wonderful in this region of Britain.  A deep interrogation into the dialect and ceremonies of West Cumbria is the focus of MARRA! a new show from the powerfully provocative artist Lone Taxidermist (AKA Natalie Sharp), reflecting on her experiences as a first-generation immigrant in a small Cumbrian town, combined with the strange array of rituals and traditions that seem to fizz under the surface of everyday life. There are further music highlights, as producer-meets-vocalist Iceboy Violet channels grime, trap and ambient for an evocative listening experience, whilst violinist and loop pedal artist Rebekah Reid fuses together electronics and jazz with classical string techniques – highlighting that this festival offers an opportunity to hear some of the freshest new sounds.

An after-party broadcast will also follow Saturday’s celebrations, returning to the White Hotel for a co-curated evening of evocative delights. There will be drag, live music and spoken word from the queer coven of The Creatures of Catharsis, featuring the likes of Cheddar Gorgeous, Beau, Lill, Grace… and plenty of surprises too! Audiences tuning in can also enjoy DJ sets from Manchester’s much-loved party purveyors Bollox, High Hoops and Jungle J, plus the immersive creepiness of Adult Entertainment (Adrian Flanagan and Charlotte Cannon).

Keyboard Fantasies

Sunday follows, embracing the themes of joy, unification and queer power – concepts that Fat Out Fest has long-upheld and explored in its content. Broadcasts for the day will include a screening of the emotive coming-of-age film Keyboard Fantasies: The Beverly Glenn-Copeland Story, considering the life of Beverly Glenn-Copeland – now Glenn Copeland –who wrote and self-released the intriguing folk-electronic hybrid Keyboard Fantasies whilst living in near-isolation in Huntsville, Ontario in 1986. The album went on to inspire a cult following and continues to have an impact many years later, inspiring various creative responses and new generations. There will also be content curated by Decolonise Festival including panel discussions, debates and Q&As, plus a presentation of the short film Queer All About It: HIV 30+ Years of Change. Additionally, even more content is set to be announced as the festival approaches, so viewers can be sure of an energy-packed and vibrant weekender of wonder, championing alternative culture, the North and a heart made in Salford.

According to Fat Out Director Emma Thompson:

“We invite you to join our Halloween ritual and together we can ward off 2020 gloom, praying for a time when we can all reunite to push each other round the dance floor whilst listening to ear bleeding riffs. But until then, you can turn your home into your personal venue and join us on a sonic journey as we navigate the unknown.”

New additions to the line-up also include ‘The Juicy Boyz’ with their own unique takes on classic pop videos, tribal-inspired performance from Ritual Maya, and on Sunday there will be sonic meditations from AHRKH. Short films by Guildhall graduates Rebekeh Allero and Kookie Blu will also feature.

To register for the digital festival and find out about tickets for the live events go to fatout.co.uk.

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