In praise of diversity and great music, the largest international queer music festival in Berlin will once again offer a stage to the ‘queer experience’ this weekend. Which is all about promoting freedom of expression and outrunning the narrow-minded maelstrom (clogging up creative pipelines). As the place to enjoy the shimmering and critical scores of provocative music talents spanning from “burgeoning local performers to established international acts”, Glamcult sat down with the programmers behind Yo! Sissy to discuss the process behind selecting and choosing the enigmatic acts—think: Planningtorock, Vitalic and Lotic—set to perform and wrap you in their energizing soundscapes.
What makes programming Yo! Sissy different from any other festival?
Easy. We consciously and diligently make an effort to have a line-up that’s not predominantly made up of white men, as is the case with most major music festivals.
What is it you look for in a line-up?
The most important quality we look for in any artist we book is that they have to make us dance. YO! SISSY is a dance party, so make sure you’re ready to sweat!
Is it important to have an eclectic mix of artists?
We love the fact that YO! SISSY showcases so many types of music. This is what we believe is so innate to the queer experience; diversity. We are drawn to artists whose stylistic approach is just as strong as their political or sexual content.
How do you hope the festival line-up will make visitors feel?
We want people to experience something they’ve never seen or heard before. We want members of our audience to see themselves reflected on stage and feel inspired to one day get on stage themselves. We hope visitors will realize that all those things that they were made to feel inferior or inadequate about, are what makes them beautiful. The first year we held the festival, one review mentioned that YO! SISSY broke the divide between audience and performer—this is success to us.
How does the line-up differ to previous years and what has stayed the same?
Each year we’re able to attract higher profile artists, but the core has always remained the same. Our artists are complex humanitarians with a strong political message. We love music that is wrapped up in identity politics. This will always stay the same.
As a platform that gives space to minorities to express themselves and to be heard, what do you think is happening to the visibility of queer artists today?
This is a tricky question, because we believe the changes in acceptance and visibility of queer artists are not coming fast enough. At the same time, we firmly believe that if you show it, even when it’s new or confusing or unpopular, people will respond. Each year we grow stronger and larger, this means more visibility and more success for our artists. However, it’s not easy. We are constantly fighting an uphill battle against ingrained social cues that prevent artists, like the ones featured on our line-up, from reaching larger audiences. We will keep pushing until a certain quota of diversity in the music industry no longer needs to be met, because room has already been given to people like us to thrive.