Obviously the festival’s gotten a lot bigger since you started. How has it evolved?
BLB: It just kind of grew. We would still be doing it even if it hadn’t grown. When we got more budget and started to book more headliners, that’s when we got a lot of interest from the media because it’s such a colorful and beautiful event and it grew naturally.
HC: Within the years since we started, it’s always showcasing new talent and upcoming performers: kings, queens, everyone. There’s always been a rollercoaster of performers and this year we’re getting the babies that started in the pandemic. I’ve been going to a lot of these shows and seeing their talent and it’s, like, mind blowing how amazing. These kids are really cool.
BLB: As the festival grew, we got more and more people who wanted to perform. So then we had to figure that out.
HC: That’s the hard part. I’m just like, oh my god, who is going where?
How do you even decide?
HC: If you did Bushwig for three years in a row, we’re going to be like maybe sit this one out and we’re going to get someone who’s never done it before. That’s the vibe we’re giving this year.
BLB: We made a conscious decision this year to book very new talent and, in my mind, we were kind of getting back to our roots. Get the weirdos that are really pushing the boundaries of drag and performance art and uplifting them more. We think now is the right time for us to bring the new wave of talent and focus on the freaks.
And it sucks because, at the end of the day, we are community and family-oriented so it is hurtful when we tell friends, “Hey maybe you can’t do it this year.” And it sucks, but we have to continue showcasing new talent. This year we had over 700 applications.
HC: We’ve had the most applications this year than in the whole decade that we’ve been doing this.