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Dweller Festival Returns

A Q&A with Festival Organizer, Frankie Hutchison

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If you don’t have any plans this Black History Month in New York City, now you do! The Dweller Festival returns for its second iteration, with special acts: Ase Manual, DJ Nativesun, DJ Swisha, Kush Jones, and many more. 

The festival made its debut in February of 2019 as an effort to showcase some of the most talented individuals who are of African descent in the electronic dance scene. For their first edition, Dweller partnered with Brooklyn music venue, Bossa Nova Civic Club, providing a space for people of color to dance, get lost in the music, and have a good ol’ time.

DJ Swisha at Bossa Nova Civic Club. (Photo by Ebony Anderson-Brown)

DJ Swisha at Bossa Nova Civic Club. (Photo by Ebony Anderson-Brown)

This year, Dweller announced that they will not only be returning to Bossa Nova but also Nowadays, Commend for a special opening panel, and a secret location. For its second iteration, Dweller is shaking things up by including an educational component to the six-day festival and we just had to ask … what’s next? 

We reached out to festival organizer, Frankie Hutchison, for an inside scoop on what we can expect from the Dweller Festival in the future.

HangTime. What was the inspiration behind the creation of the Dweller Festival, and why the name? Any correlation with the music duo and/or mythology, Drexciya? 

Frankie. I’d thought about doing something like this for a while and Ash Lauryn wanting to play at Bossa during black history month triggered it into happening. It took me a while to think of a name that wasn’t corny (lol I hope Dweller isn’t) so I dug into some of the work of elder black legends, Drexciya being one of them. Drexciya’s work includes explicit references to slavery, that being the world of Drexciya is the unborn babies of black women who were thrown off of slaveships. The word dweller is taken from their series of records, “journey of the deep sea dweller,” so it felt right to carry on the word and world that signifies another space we exist in that belongs to us. 

HangTime. What is the main objective/mission of the Dweller Festival?

Frankie. To celebrate black electronics, many of which are overlooked relative to their white peers. But also to highlight the irony of how those who are the most successful within house and techno, aren’t Black artists when it was started by black people.

HangTime. Do you see the Dweller Festival returning for a third year? If so, who do you see yourself collaborating with? Would the festival travel to other cities/countries?

Frankie. I hope so, but we really have to nail some proper funding, which is always the struggle. I don’t want to do another year where people play for less than they deserve. I feel like ultimately it undermines the project. I would be down to travel to other places, but I’m not down to concede to work with anyone who doesn’t understand racism. You really have to get it and most people do not or are scared to look.

HangTime. What are you most excited about for this upcoming festival?

Frankie. Black people having fun and supporting one another. I also hope that we get to feel safer, that’s obviously not something that anyone can guarantee but it’s something I hope we can strive for together.
Dweller 2 is set to showcase over 35 artists and within five days at four venues. You can RSVP for one of their many events by visiting their Facebook event page.

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