Coachella unleashes a new group of headliners after three-year hiatus as Harry Styles, Billie Eilish & Ye spearhead 2022 lineup

Coachella - 2022 lineup

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival //
Empire Polo Club – Indio, CA
April 15th-17th & April 22nd-24th, 2022 //

The wait is officially over.

Just a year after celebrating its 20th anniversary with Childish Gambino, Tame Impala and Ariana Grande at the top of the poster, Coachella was primed to make another splash in 2020 with Rage Against the Machine headlining for the third time in the legendary band’s career and Travis Scott scheduled to make his headlining debut on the polo fields as well as Frank Ocean.

But the three-day, two-weekend event became one of the first large-scale music festivals in the U.S. — along with South by Southwest and Ultra Music Festival — that was forced to postpone its plans when the COVID-19 pandemic took the world by storm almost two years ago. Goldenvoice worked to quickly reschedule Coachella for October, though with coronavirus cases and deaths spiking out of control all over the country, another delay came in June, signaling the unfortunate reality that there would be no festival in the calendar year for the first time since 2000.

With the state of the pandemic in flux and the U.S. still operating without a vaccination program in place by early January last year, Coachella in 2021 quickly became a fantasy. Fast forward another year, and the famed California fest is finally ready to give it another go in April.

However, none of the previously announced 2020 headliners are still booked for its 21st edition in less than three months. Rage Against the Machine, for starters, dropped out despite the Los Angeles Times reporting last summer in an exclusive interview with Goldenvoice CEO Paul Tollett that the band would still headline and Scott was also pulled following his disastrous Astroworld Festival — or as some might like to call it, Disastroworld — performance back in November while Ocean is now expected to perform in 2023, according to the aforementioned LA Times report.

Instead, Harry Styles, Billie Eilish and Ye (fka Kanye West) will spearhead the 2022 lineup after reports circled last week about Eilish and Ye being in talks to headline and another surfaced only hours before the roster was unveiled regarding a commitment from Styles.

Swedish House Mafia, in the meantime, will return to Coachella for the first time in a decade since the electronic supergroup’s closing set on the main stage in 2012, although their appearance is not all that surprising thanks to this tweet back in October. Which day they’ll perform, however, is anyone’s guess right now.

Coachella has had a penchant for booking more international acts — from BLACKPINK to Bad Bunny — in recent years, and 2022 will be no different with Grupo Firme, Anitta, Joji and Karol G on the bill. But this year’s undercard showcases plenty of other talent too, including Lil Baby, Flume, Doja Cat, Daniel Caesar, Megan Thee Stallion, Phoebe Bridgers, Disclosure, Jamie xx, Big Sean, 21 Savage, Run the Jewels, Danny Elfman, Maggie Rogers, Louis the Child, Stromae, Ari Lennox, Baby Keem, GIVĒON, Banda MS, Still Woozy, BROCKHAMPTON, Fatboy Slim, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, Rich Brian, Måneskin and more.

Tickets for Weekend 1 are already sold out, but there is a wait list that you can jump on here while three-day GA and VIP passes for Weekend 2 will go on sale here during a presale this Friday, January 14th at 10 a.m. PT.

Headed out to the desert this spring? Look back at our coverage of Coachella over the years here.

Coachella

BottleRock targets Memorial Day weekend again after uncorking 2022 bill led by Metallica, P!NK, Twenty One Pilots & Luke Combs

BottleRock - 2022 lineup

BottleRock Napa Valley //
Napa Valley Expo – Napa, CA
May 27th-29th, 2022 //

Buckle up, BottleRockers! Your favorite Napa Valley music festival is getting back on schedule this year.

Despite COVID-19 cases skyrocketing across the U.S. with the coronavirus’ Omicron variant spreading like a wildfire, the three-day event is marching ahead toward its usual timing of Memorial Day weekend after canceling in 2020 and moving to Labor Day weekend in 2021.

And much like BottleRock’s previous rosters, 2022’s follows very much in the same vein (i.e. lots of rock ‘n’ roll) with Metallica, P!NK, Twenty One Pilots and Luke Combs topping the bill. The fest’s ninth edition should serve as a special performance for Metallica no less, considering that the legendary heavy-metal band has called the Bay Area home for almost three decades.

But plenty of other household names have also been procured to fill out the undercard, including The Black Crowes, Kygo, Pitbull, Greta Van Fleet, Mount Westmore (the new hip-hop supergroup formed by Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, E-40 and Too $hort in 2020), Rainbow Kitten Surprise, CHVRCHES, Bleachers, Spoon, BANKS, Alessia Cara, SAINt JHN, Vance Joy, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Silversun Pickups, The Wailers feat. Julian Marley, Iration, Greensky Bluegrass, Grandson, Amos Lee and more. See the poster above for the rest of the lineup.

In addition to all of the artists and bands slated to perform, BottleRock will once again host its annual live cooking demonstrations that see celebrity chefs team up with a variety of musicians — from Alice Cooper to Warren G — and athletes at the Williams-Sonoma Culinary Stage.

With tickets going on sale here this Tuesday, January 11th at 10 a.m. PT, there’s no time to wait so don’t forget to set those alarms now! Three-day GA passes will start at $369 plus fees with VIP, Skydeck, The Suites and Platinum experiences also available for purchase. Who’s ready to rock at BottleRock?!?!

UPDATE (January 12th): BottleRock has unloaded its daily lineups for 2022, with Metallica rocking Friday, Twenty One Pilots performing Saturday, and P!NK and Luke Combs closing things down on Sunday. Check out the daily schedules above before single-day tickets go on sale here starting this Thursday, January 13th at 10 a.m. PT.

CRSSD Festival goes big with Glass Animals, SOFI TUKKER, Four Tet, Get Real, Gorgon City & more set to anchor Spring 2022 lineup

CRSSD Festival - Spring 2022 lineup

CRSSD Festival //
Waterfront Park – San Diego
March 5th-6th, 2022 //

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic canceling many New Year’s Eve celebrations and continuing to wreak havoc across the U.S., there’s still a sense of optimism among those in the live music industry for 2022.

But one North American concert promoter who hasn’t been deterred by the latest news surrounding the coronavirus’ Omicron variant happens to be FNGRS CRSSD, the San Diego-based brand that debuted CRSSD Festival back in 2015 and has been going strong ever since with a spring and fall edition of the event each year.

And as the calendar turns to the New Year in a few more days, FNGRS CRSSD is still holding tight with those plans after unleashing another electronic-leaning roster for its first installment of CRSSD 2022.

Leading the way will be headliners Glass Animals and SOFI TUKKER on top of a stacked undercard that features Four Tet, Get Real (Claude VonStroke and Green Velvet), Gorgon City, 070 Shake, Blu DeTiger, Cautious Clay, Chet Faker, Parcels, Franc Moody, Lastlings, SG Lewis, Absolute., Ben UFO B2B Joy Orbison, Dan Shake, Danilo Plessow of Motor City Drum Ensemble, Felix Da Housecat and more. Check out the poster above for the rest of the lineup coming to Waterfront Park this March.

Those who attended the fest in Spring 2020 and Fall 2021 will have access to a special alumni presale starting Tuesday, January 4th at 11 a.m. PT while the general public on-sale will begin the following day on Wednesday, January 5th at 11 a.m. PT.

And with only a little more than two months to go before CRSSD’s return, make sure to look back at our coverage over the years here.

Primavera Sound LA drops inaugural 2022 lineup headlined by Arctic Monkeys, Lorde & Nine Inch Nails

Primavera Sound Los Angeles - 2022 lineup

Primavera Sound Los Angeles //
LA State Historic Park – Los Angeles
September 16-18th, 2022 //

The weather outside currently might be a little chilly, but the 2022 festival season in Southern California is already heating up. Just in the last week Smokin Grooves announced its return in March and concert promoter Goldenvoice unleashed its plans to revive the iconic This Ain’t No Picnic next summer to mark what’s sure to be a banner year for live music in the City of Angels.

But we’ve eagerly been anticipating the release of Primavera Sound LA’s inaugural lineup, which was originally set to make its U.S. debut in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic put a hold on things, and that news has finally become a reality.

Headlining the three-day music festival at the 32-acre LA State Historic Park will be Arctic Monkeys, Lorde and Nine Inch Nails, the latter of which had previously confirmed on social media more than a year ago that they had been booked for the event.

Other highlights on the 2022 roster include Arca, Bicep (Live), Buscabulla, Cigarettes After Sex, Clairo, DARKSIDE, Faye Webster, Fontaines D.C., James Blake, Jehnny Beth, Khruangbin, Kim Gordon, King Krule, Low, Mitski, Paloma Mami, Shygirl, Stereolab, Tierra Whack and more. See the poster above for the rest of the scheduled acts.

Launching back in 2001 with its roots firmly planted in Barcelona, Primavera Sound has been a staple across the music festival circuit for two decades now after expanding in 2012 to Porto under the name NOS Primavera Sound and adding Primavera Weekender since 2019.

You can buy tickets for Primavera Sound LA starting this Friday, December 10th at 10 a.m. PT for just $50 down, but make sure to register here for your presale code. GA passes will start at $399 with VIP available for $925 here. Don’t miss out on what’s sure to be an epic weekend of live music!

The Strokes, LCD Soundsystem, Le Tigre, Phoebe Bridgers, Beach House & more give This Ain’t No Picnic new life in 2022

This Ain't No Picnic Festival 2022

This Ain’t No Picnic //
Brookside at the Rose Bowl – Pasadena, CA
August 27th-28th, 2022 //

As we have said in this space before, it has not been an easy time for the live music industry by any stretch of the imagination. Whether you’re an artist, employee or fan, enduring 18 months without in-person events was painful to experience. So, maybe it’s fitting Goldenvoice is reviving a festival that hasn’t been around in almost 20 years at this point.

The renowned California concert promoter is bringing back This Ain’t No Picnic for the first time since 2002 and taking over the Brookside Golf Course at the Rose Bowl for two days in late August (warning: it will be hot) with a killer roster that screams “Pitchfork Fest!”

A couple of NYC indie-rock giants in The Strokes and LCD Soundsystem, who are currently in the middle of a 20-date residency at Brooklyn Steel, will serve as headliners while the fest’s undercard offers its own set of highlights starting with the reunion of Le Tigre, another NYC product who last reunited in 2016 to release “I’m with Her” as their latest single.

Other notable names bolstering the iconic indie music festival’s lineup in 2022 include Phoebe Bridgers, Beach House, Jorja Smith, Kaytranada, Jungle, IDLES, Isaiah Rashad, Sparks, Turnstile, Circle Jerks, Descendents, Caroline Polachek, Mac Demarco, Slowthai, Courtney Barnett, Four Tet + Floating Points, Tinashe, Earl Sweatshirt, Yves Tumor, Queen Naija, Honey Dijon, Sleep, Deafheaven and more. Peep the poster above for the rest of the artists scheduled to perform.

Making its debut at Oak Canyon Ranch in Silverado where past incarnations of Lightning in a Bottle and other music festivals in the Southern California area have also taken place, This Ain’t No Picnic exposed the raw energy of punk-leaning, indie darlings like Sonic Youth, Sleater-Kinney and Guided by Voices in 1999 before taking another step toward the mainstream by booking Beck, Yo La Tengo, Built to Spill, At the Drive-In and Modest Mouse for its 2000 edition.

With there being more optimism surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic heading into next year, you can bet that tickets for this one will go quick so make sure to sign up for the presale occurring on Thursday, December 9th at 10 a.m. PT here before they go on sale at 2 p.m. PT here. GA passes will be available for $299-$349, with VIP going for $799 and Clubhouse at an eye-opening $1,199. But if you’re looking to dance and sweat your ass off in the Pasadena heat, this is the only summer picnic you’ll want to be at!

Goldenvoice

Smokin Grooves Fest returns in 2022 as Erykah Badu, Nas, The Roots, Miguel, Jhené Aiko & more stack the bill in downtown LA

Smokin Groves Fest - 2022 lineup

Smokin Grooves Fest //
LA State Historic Park – Los Angeles
March 19th, 2022 //

Smookin Grooves is back!

The one-day, neo-soul festival, which found a home at the Queen Mary in Long Beach following a 16-year absence, has unleashed its 2022 lineup and it’s absolutely stacked from top to bottom thanks to promoters Bobby Dee Presents and the legendary Snoop Dogg.

In fact, Smookin Grooves has easily matched what it offered fans in 2018 (read our review here) and 2019 (read our review here) after putting on excellent showings both years sheerly by landing Erykah Badu, Nas, The Roots, Miguel and Jhené Aiko to lead the charge.

But adding The Internet, Flying Lotus, Kamasi Washington, Thundercat, Smino, Toro y Moi, SiR, Little Dragon, Hiatus Kaiyote, Musiq Soulchild, India.Arie, Macy Gray, Angie Stone, Leela James, Talib Kweli, Roy Ayers, Dead Prez, Slum Village, Dwele, Joe Kay and more to the roster makes this another must-see production. Check out the poster above for the rest of the scheduled acts.

Known for being the first large-scale music fest in the 90’s to counter rock-centric ones like Lollapalooza by pushing hip-hop, R&B and soul to the forefront of popular music with the help of The Fugees, A Tribe Called Quest, Cypress Hill and more, Smookin Grooves has already established quite a legacy for itself and Badu has certainly played an important role having performed at many of its editions, including the past two. Meanwhile, The Roots, Miguel and Aiko are all familiar names as well after their appearances at the festival in 2018.

It’s also worth mentioning that Smokin Grooves is getting a change of scenery this March as it relocates north to LA State Historic Park, where we caught Duke Dumont, Miike Snow, Lido and more in 2017 for KCRW’s inaugural Skyline festival (read our review here). Tucked against the Chinatown neighborhood of downtown LA, the 32-acre park underwent major renovations several years ago and has long been considered to be an excellent location for live music since its days hosting FYF Fest and HARD’s LA-based events.

So, are you ready to get in on the action? Smokin Grooves will have a presale this Friday, December 3rd at 10 a.m. PT that you can sign up for here, with any remaining tickets available for purchase at 2 p.m. PT during the general sale. GA passes start at $184.99 and go up to $214.99, while GA+ begin at $249.99 before increasing to $269.99. And of course, if you’re 21 years or older and willing to splurge, there’s always VIP for $399.99 before jumping to $424.99 per person.

Look back at our past coverage of Smookin Grooves Fest here.

Smokin Grooves Fest 2019

Outside Lands 2021: A return to hallowed ground

Outside Lands 2021 - crowdPhotos by Sarah Felker & Marc Fong // Written by Molly Kish //

Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival //
Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
October 29th-31st, 2021 //

After postponing its 13th edition due to the COVID-19 pandemic and experiencing disappointing lineup cancellations in the months leading up to it, Outside Lands had quite a lot to make up for going into its 2021 relaunch for Halloween. Asserting themselves as hosts of the first “mega event” in Golden Gate Park during the pandemic, Bay Area concert promoter Another Planet Entertainment braved an entirely new entertainment landscape, time of year and crowd dynamic.

Following statewide safety protocols, attendees had to wear a mask and show proof of vaccination or a negative test result at all entrances before scanning their way inside the gates. Clear backpacks were enforced and costume guidelines were added to the laundry list of rules and regulations for all ticket holders. But even with the adjusted security measures and slight changes to the event’s production, concertgoers came out in record numbers. Averaging crowds of approximately 70,000 people per day, OSL 2021 wasn’t short of attendees willing to happily follow the new guidelines in order to return to the beloved three-day festival.

Outside Lands 2021

While at times the interactive experiences in 2021 seemed lacking with the obvious downplay of live art activations, comedy and representation of the Bay Area’s creative culture, OSL still provided a larger platform for community-based initiatives. This year the fest added a brand-new stage in the SOMA Tent, which focused on burgeoning talent across the local electronic scene, and also dedicated attention and space for both local and national non-profits with an extended Eco Lands footprint.

Relaunching OSL over Halloween weekend was one of the smartest pivots Another Planet could have made. The energy surrounding the holiday was palpable, providing a dialed-in event and location with an additional reason for both local and visiting attendees to celebrate. Costumed crowds filled the fields all three days and created an increasingly whimsical buildup to what felt like a triumphant return to the city’s historical Halloween legacy. With many hoping the holiday tradition would continue for years to come, OSL successfully stoked the sold-out crowd’s excitement for its return in August 2022.

Outside Lands 2021 - Moses Sumney


Moses Sumney

OUTSIDE LANDS 2021 AWARDS:

Headliner of the Weekend: Tyler, the Creator

Breakthrough Performance: The HU

Favorite First-Timer: Brijean

Best OSL Addition: SOMA Tent

Favorite Festival Food: Pork Lumpia from Abacá

Most Magical Cocktail: Silver Girl’s “St. Olaf’s Fizz”

Most Entertaining Activation: The Aperol Spritz Piazza

Best Wine Lands Pour: Brut Rose by Angels & Cowboys

Favorite OSL Night Show: Drama at Bimbo’s 360 Club

Most Popular Costume: Skeleton

Largest Crowd: RÜFÜS DU SOL

Biggest Dance Party: Khruangbin

Best Stage Production: Tame Impala

Funniest Band Interaction: The Neil Frances vs. Neal Francis beef

Local Standout: Kehlani

Most Impressive Pipes: Brittany Howard

Biggest Lasting Impression: Moses Sumney

Best Improvement: Open-air layout at The House by Heineken

Lightning in a Bottle lines up Glass Animals, Kaytranada, GRiZ & more to lead festival’s comeback in 2022

Lightning in a Bottle - 2022 lineup

Lightning in a Bottle //
Buena Vista Aquatic Recreation Area – Bakersfield, CA
May 25th-30th, 2022 //

Lightning in a Bottle is alive and well!

After being forced to cancel its 2020 edition more than 18 months ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the “transformational festival” is returning to Kern County over Memorial Day weekend.

And for those who previously purchased tickets and have been waiting for an update on LIB’s future, you might be happy to know that The Do LaB has retained a handful of acts on the 2020 roster from headliners like Kaytranada and GRiZ to such undercard standouts as Purity Ring, Big Wild, Four Tet, Empress Of and Jon Hopkins across the fest’s three stages.

But LIB 2022 will also feature some new blood, starting right at the top of the poster with Glass Animals fresh off their performance at Outside Lands last weekend for Halloween. Joining the English psych-pop band as other LIB newcomers on the bill will be a pair of 27-year-old Brits in SG Lewis and Little Simz.

Other notable names on the initial lineup for LIB’s 15th installment include Chet Faker, Black Coffee, CloZee, Seth Troxler, Monolink, G Jones B2B Eprom, Maya Jane Coles, Goldlink, OPIUO, Chika, Mr. Carmack, Big Freedia, Dirtwire and more, including a Desert Hearts launch party with Lee Reynolds.

LIB, which has long been considered to be one of the country’s premier boutique festivals, has served as an excellent follow-up to Coachella over the last decade, often pulling some of the same electronic-leaning talent — whether it’s Bob Moses, Bonobo, Emancipator, RÜFÜS DU SOL or Tycho — who can be seen performing years prior at the famed two-weekend, three-day music festival in the desert.

GA and VIP passes to LIB can be purchased during the presale this Thursday, November 4th at 10 a.m. PT if you sign up here or for $395 and $775, respectively, plus fees here this Friday, November 5th at 10 a.m. PT with payment plans available. As always, promoting the ideals of sustainability, social cohesion, personal health and creative expression through art, yoga, workshops and speakers will remain a critical and prominent element of The Do LaB’s signature event.

Can’t wait until May? Tap back into our past coverage of LIB here.

Doors Open: A Bay Area Reopening Series – Juanita MORE!

Juanita MORE!Photos by Molly Kish & courtesy of Juanita MORE! // Written by Molly Kish //

Juanita MORE! – Activist, Philanthropist, Entrepreneur & LGBTQ+ Representative

Walking into the home of Juanita MORE! feels more like you’re entering a museum than a TenderNob residence. After being greeted by her French bulldog Jackson scampering down the hallway, you enter the gorgeous garden apartment and are immersed in a time capsule of art, photos and memorabilia spanning her entire career. In her 30-plus years as an activist, philanthropist, LGBTQ+ representative and Bay Area icon, MORE! has been a muse for countless creatives and has inspired upwards of eight public art murals currently gracing the streets of San Francisco.

Her legacy, however, is one deeply rooted in her passion to represent and serve the various communities that she and her chosen family are ingrained in. Utilizing her many talents and immense reach, MORE! has been able to raise an astonishing amount of awareness and over $900,000 in donations to help keep queer culture and art thriving within the Bay Area.

Catching up with MORE! shortly after she was elected Empress of the Imperial Council of San Francisco, we spoke with her about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the LGBTQ+ nightlife scene and what she has done to further evolve her fundraising efforts. We also discussed how California’s reopening last week will play a huge part in this year’s Pride celebrations, her annual charity party and the future of events in the Bay Area.


Juanita MORE!

Showbams: We’re finally at a point where California is coming out of the social, political and economic chaos of this past year. As someone who is directly involved with almost every community that has been affected by COVID-19, how are you feeling?

MORE!: I’m feeling super hopeful and super excited, but of course I’m a bit hesitant because I have been isolating and encouraging people to do that. We’ve gone through a year of being emotionally suppressed in a way that we normally don’t as humans. So, that’s going to take me a minute to snap out of. It’s gonna take little steps, not me just diving in. I’m not ready to do that. I’m still walking outside my house with my mask on, being super cautious and still abiding by all the rules.

Showbams: As a Bay Area artist, activist, philanthropist and entrepreneur, were you able to draw strength from any previous experiences that helped you to remain focused and diligent during this past year?

MORE!: Yes, definitely my chosen family. Right away we created a pod with my drag mother, best friend and also the Emperor to my Empress Mr. David Glamamore and one of my drag children and business partners, (who is also like one of my sons) Cole Church. We just knew we had to create this little pod because we’ve always taken care of each other. We decided that every Sunday the three of us are going to have dinner, and every now and then we would bring one other person in. They’re the ones in my life, in general that keep me grounded and focused in what I do.

You know what I do is very public and it has been until this went the other direction, but for me, as public as Juanita is, I really love when it’s not. That helps me re-energize, and it helps me become more creative. So at first I was like, “Oh, this feels OK, sort of,” because I don’t really go out. I mean when I do, it’s Juanita and it’s either work or it’s to have a really great time. When I was doing drag normally, it sometimes was like 2-3 times a week and that’s a lot of drag! I just wanna be in my apartment. I mean … you’re in my apartment now, it’s a great nesting space! I made it super comfortable. So yeah, I would definitely say my little pod helped get me through. My chosen family and I have a big chosen family, so there you go.

“As public as Juanita is, I really love when it’s not. That helps me re-energize and it helps me become more creative.”

Showbams: As someone who has been a mother and mouthpiece for queer culture in the Bay Area, what was your initial thought when the industry flatlined over night?

MORE!: Well, one big concern was that most of my friends work in nightlife, from every part of it in lighting and sound people to DJs to venue owners … like just absolutely everyone! You know, the bar managers, the bartender, the barback, then the performers and the designers who are making the dresses for some of the artists. It just kept going even further and further. I ended up hooking up with the San Francisco Bay Area Nightlife Committee because we all felt like it was a much-needed time to start digging up resources and find fundraising to help people stay afloat. That struggle is still happening. Even though we’re seeing something on the horizon and it looks better, there’s still people who have not worked one day in a whole year. My friends who run events were just like, done.

The SF Party Store that was on Post Street, right around the corner from me you know, it was part of my walk! Jackson would go in there, and I would walk through to see if there was something I needed and it’s just gone. Fantastico, gone. Places where we would go to get things, now I’m like, “Oh my God, I gotta order this online?” It was part of my everyday.

Juanita MORE!

Showbams: It seemed like almost immediately after news broke, you began to activate organizers, producers, entertainers, venue owners and more to develop the San Francisco Queer Nightlife Fund. Can you take me through the process of how you were able to get it up and running so quickly?

MORE!: Well, the team that was working on it … they’re a little more tactful at doing that kind of stuff than I am. I mean, I became the face of it and the voice of it for a lot of reasons. I have a huge reach, so it was good to put it to use for that situation. Everybody on the team was super invested. I think they’ve given out over $300,000 over the past year, which is amazing. Sometimes it just paid someone’s rent.

“I literally had people come up to my booth and cry when they saw me, because I had not seen them in a year.”

Showbams: Throughout your 30-plus years of service in the Bay Area, your fundraising in the LGBTQ+ community has been nothing short of legendary. Was it hard to adjust your methods and tactics during the pandemic?

MORE!: Yes. Last year it was tough to fundraise and was challenging for sure. To get everyone focused and be a part of a fundraiser that was online and in a different way and with so many, it became oversaturated. It’s almost hard to watch now. I mean, sometimes you know, there’s three things happening at the same time! I’m here with my iPad on one, another on my phone and I’m trying to watch and support everybody. But some great stuff has come out of it. There’ve been some baby drag queens that we may never have heard of until they got on the internet.

Juanita MORE!

Showbams: Your philanthropic efforts have really included everything from virtual charity events to telethons, dance parties, art mart appearances and even bake sales! The LGBTQ+ community came up with so many creative ways to get through this past year. Were there any particular concepts you saw that were your favorites or you hope carry over into the future of fundraising?

MORE!: Oh wow, you know the Noe Art Mart was super special. I’m great friends with the organizers, Chris Hastings and the Lookout bar. When I did the first one, it was at that moment where people were just stepping out of their comfort zones to be outside. I literally had people come up to my booth and cry when they saw me because I had not seen them in a year. So that was super, super special, and also it gave young artists the opportunity to showcase their stuff, which they may have not had an audience for even pre-pandemic.

So, now I’ve got people hooked on my CBD bath salts and granola. People even start texting me in advance, like “Hold that for me, save that.” I’ve got some people who are so addicted to the bath salts … one of my friends in the East Bay, I get a photo of him every time he uses them. He’ll text me, “I had to stop and take a bath today, I was having a day.” I’m like, “That’s what they’re for!”

“If you have to bring your vaccination card and show it at the door, you gotta do that! If it’s a problem for you, then you’re not supposed to be at my party.”

Showbams: Aside from your background as a philanthropist, you’ve always had very strong political convictions which have manifested into amazing feats of activism throughout the Bay Area. Including over the past year, your call to action for the “March To Remember And Reignite Hope” as well as during 2020 Pride for “The Peoples March & Rally – Unite to Fight.” When organizing these events, did you ever feel conflicted about rallying people to activate and support when it also was during the time you were telling people to “stay the fuck home” and be cautious, especially around the immunocompromised and elderly members of the community?

MORE!: The first one was the “March to Reignite” in the Castro and that was literally, maybe just two weeks before we went into lockdown. The feeling like that was going to happen was already in the air. It was a beautiful turnout, one of my friends Ken Jones, who passed away last year, got to speak. Ken has been an activist for the longest, longest time and spoke in front of Badlands about racism and that kind of stuff. Then “The Peoples March” I felt like it was going to be safe because it was outdoors and that was already June so we had started to get a rhythm of how we were operating around each other with masks and such. That was a beautiful day. A lot of people did come up to me after and say, “That really felt like Pride to me.” When you look back at why Pride started in the 70’s, they just desperately needed to be seen and accepted, so they did it and we did something really important that day as well.

Juanita MORE!

Showbams: Having taken place during Pride weekend, the march really brought the focus back to the original protests and the reasons for them during what has now become more of a commercial celebration. Looking at this year’s theme of “All In This Together,” do you think that tone will remain?

MORE!: I believe so. I think a few things are in play for me this June. With our restrictions lifted and San Francisco doing so well, the Governor is saying that June 15th is opening. Well, to the LGBTQ+ community that means, “Oh, you’re opening in the middle of Pride.” That’s a whole new thing! Of course, there still is so much more activism that attention needs to be brought to, but there’s also room there for a celebration. So, I feel like all of those things are definitely going to happen.

“But I also can’t think about it because it makes my wig too big.”

Showbams: You’re famously quoted in saying that “once this is all over, we’re going to have a hell of a huge party.” Is the iconic Junaita MORE! Party making its return this year?

MORE!: I’m working on some form of it, and I’m also working on The Peoples March. I mean to date, I’ve helped raise over $900,000, which is absolutely insane, and it helps support non-profits, which I think are very important. I’m working on planning it, have looked at some spaces and I think I’m going to be able to do it under all the guidelines. I’m that person, and I have to be.

I was talking to a friend and they were asking, “Well, what are you going to do?” I just said, “If you have to bring your vaccination card and show it at the door, you gotta do that! If it’s a problem for you, then you’re not supposed to be at my party. That’s OK. I still love you, and I’ll see you another time.” You know I have such a big family here, and it’s going to feel good to get as many of them together as I can. Also, I really feel like the community is pushing for and the circle of everyone that’s fully vaccinated is so large now, so that’s good.

Juanita MORE!

Showbams: One more reason to celebrate is your coronation as the Empress of The Imperial Council of San Francisco. With its legacy as a non-profit fundraising organization benefitting diverse communities and charitable initiative projects, you truly are the perfect fit. However, you’ve mentioned that you and The Court work in different ways and that you wanted to bring some fresh energy into the system, to push them into new and exciting directions. Can you elaborate on what you mean by that?

MORE!: The founder of The Imperial Council, José Sarria, was a civil rights activist and a community leader, and I sort of am that as well. In some ways, I feel parallel — we’re doing the same things in different decades. I’ve been asked to be Empress before and I’ve always looked at their schedules and been like, “Oh my God! You guys are so busy, I can’t fit that into my schedule!” But then last summer, I watched the documentary “50 Years of Fabulous” and it really inspired me. It spoke to me and said, “You need to help them now, and you need to shine a brighter light on the organization.”

So, of course I’m going to raise money for them, that’s definitely going to be a thing. They’re a vehicle to spread that money back out into the community in a different kind of way than I do. It’s totally fine, as Empress I still will have influence on where the money goes, which is great. As far as social media, I want to make them more relevant. We’re living in a time of social media, it’s happening! The organization is a huge part of the city and has been forever. “50 Years of Fabulous” shows when it’s heyday really was, but I still feel like there are so many important things that we can focus on.

“At this point, it’s almost like Audrey Hepburn and Givenchy. They have a thing, right?”

Showbams: The Council is currently involved in an initiative that you’ve expressed excitement about. Can you further explain or offer any more details on what the LGBT Asylum Project is?

MORE!: I’ve worked with the LGBT Asylum Project since their conception, and I was one of the first persons to jump on board to champion and support them because I knew it was the right thing. Something that the director said to me was, “You really just came out and supported us when we were just a baby organization and that made such a bigger group of San Francisco look at us and see what we were doing, that we take it seriously and you really helped us get off the ground.” I love when that happens, and I don’t know that I sometimes intentionally do it, but I’m so happy when it does. I can’t remember how many years now that they have been running, but the director just recently said that to me and I never thought about it. I’m sure that’s happened in other places as well, and I’m super proud of it. But I also can’t think about it because it makes my wig too big.

Juanita MORE!

Showbams: Emperors didn’t start getting elected to the court until 1972 and existed separate from the Empresses until 1983. But currently elected alongside you as the reigning Emperor is your longtime collaborator David Glamamore, officially making the current empire “The Court of More is MORE!” Was this an intentional joint campaign?

MORE!: No, and we couldn’t run it as one. I mean, the story of me meeting David is just so special and we have been truly best friends, mother, father, brother, sister and he’s my drag mother and I’m his drag daughter. When I met him in New York, he was doing drag before me so he considered me the very first MORE! boy. It’s so crazy! Now after 35-plus years of knowing each other, we finish each other’s sentences.

We’re best friends, but also on artistic projects, we feed off each other and make things just so beautiful together. I also own the most amount of clothes that David has ever made. The biggest collection, I have over 3,000 pieces! It’s gotten to the point where other designers have said they want to make me something, but at this point, it’s almost like Audrey Hepburn and Givenchy. They have a thing, right?

We’ve collaborated on so many things together that our minds just are the same and we end up seeing the same beauty in things. I mean, I can call David on the phone and say, “Oh, I bought four yards of this fabric and how should I move my pattern on it?” He lights his cigarette and says, “Hmm, just move your pattern down 15 inches and swing the arm over to the left 30 inches.” Or sometimes, he’ll just take a snapshot of a drawing he did that’s just a scribble and numbers, and I get it. That’s the part that other people are like, “Are you freaking kidding me? You just got off the phone and you’re going to cut that,” and I totally get it. I’ve done this with him for 30 years. I’m glad we’re doing this together. We’re also just great support for each other, like emotionally.

“When we come out of this, it’ll happen and it’s going to be good.”

Showbams: Going forward, can you think of one positive thing about this last year that you hope will carry over into the reopening of the Bay Area music and entertainment scene?

MORE!: For me, I think that I got a moment to kind of look at my life from another kind of way. Like I was saying earlier, I don’t really go out and I only really am ever doing so as Juanita. Well, all of the sudden I had to deal with that. That person who doesn’t go out. So, I think I learned a little bit more about myself as I’m adulting even more and knowing that when we come out of this, it’ll happen and it’s going to be good.


Editor’s Note: Since this interview, Juanita MORE! has scheduled her 18th annual Pride party at 620 Jones for this Sunday, June 27th. The 2021 celebration’s main focus will be on reigniting the LGBTQ+ nightlife scene in SF and will feature DJ sets from Bay Area talent as well as a live performance by singer Kaleena Zanders. All advanced tickets have been sold, but both cash and evening tickets (from 6-10:30 p.m. PT) will be available at the door. For more information on the beneficiaries of this year’s ticket sales, please visit imperialcouncilsf.org and sfqueernightlifefund.org.

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