Forcastle Festival Roundup: It was gay AF in 2022, to that we say, ‘hell yeah!’

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Sophia Lee
she/they
sophia@queerkentucky.com

After two years of longing from Louisvillians all around, Forecastle Music Festival has finally returned. And they are back with a bang. While I haven’t been to every Forecastle ever, I will go ahead and say… This was the gayest Forecastle Music Festival yet. With colorful flags, prideful light shows, and the queerest lineup ever, this years festival definitely put the last few to shame. While there are ten million things I could talk about regarding this weekend’s events, I’m just gonna jump right in and tell y’all about the lineup.

The three biggest headliners at the festival this year included Jack Harlow, Tame Impala, and Tyler, the Creator. I will talk about two of them. Yes, two. Only two because this is my fucking article and I can do what I want. No, not really. Mainly just because they’re the gayest and you’ll see what I mean later. But to begin, there are several smaller acts – primarily brought up by TikTok – that took the stages by storm this weekend. Did the best ones just so happen to be queer? Although presumed straight, we cannot pass up the fact that Kentucky’s very own Jack Harlow, has a hit single with one of our favorite queer icons, Lil Nas X. We hope to see Harlow partner with more and more queer artists because let’s be real…queer artists are the best.

The first rising artist that took the stage on Friday was Charlotte Sands. Hailing from Boston, Massachusetts, Sands rose to popularity when her song “Dress” went viral on TikTok for its gender fluid representation of heteronormative clothing for men. The song was inspired by Harry Styles and his notorious Vogue cover from December 2020. The song’s hook is “I love the way you wear that dress,” Cute, right? And it was great live. Although Sands has not come out directly in regards to how she identifies, she has been a huge online, and in-person, supporter of the queer community and has done several features with upcoming gay artists. 

The next act I moved on to see was Indigo De Souza. Of all the low-key musicians I saw Forecastle weekend, she was my absolute favorite. Coming from Asheville, North Carolina, De Souza began making music when she was about 9-years-old. Her most recent song that has gained her some popularity is called “Hold U.” The song celebrates queer love and self-love in finding ones community as a way to uplift yourself and others around you. She’s pure perfection live and I highly recommend, if you’re into female indie rock vocalists with an edgy, throat wrenching guttural type sound. Sounds weird but trust me, it’s genius.

Another artist that took on the main stage, unexpectedly, was South Los Angelos rapper and songwriter, Duckwrth. Like Tyler, the Creator, and several other hip-hop artists, Duckwrth strives to move away from categorization and labels but rather to break down the heteronormative regime with actions rather than words. And his fashion and lyrics say it all. Whether he be gay, pan, or bi, Duckwrth is definitely a queer icon in every sense. Though we’re not exactly sure who’s attention he grabbed to rise to stardom, he has had several big features, including Shaboozey, Louis the Child, and Cordae. One of his most popular songs “Kiss U Right Now” had the crowds absolutely exasperated. I think we all had to stop for a cold beverage after that performance.

The final two acts I saw on Friday that deserve great mention are 1) Clairo and 2) Porter Robinson. Clairo, our bisexual, sad girl queen from Atlanta, Georgia, can only be described as a legend at this point. She’s 23-years-old currently and has been posting singing videos on Youtube since she was 13. And we’ve been listening. In 2017, her lo-fi song “Pretty Girl” went viral due to the realness and connection fans had to the music video that was definitely filmed in her bedroom. We love bedroom pop. Porter Robinson, on the other hand, may not identify within the queer community (though we can never be sure) but has had a huge underground LGBTQIA+ following for years. The cult-favorite DJ – also from Atlanta, Georgia – has been making music for our electronic gays since around 2005. In 2014, Robinson put out a tweet that made the queer community feel all the feels.

Now, Friday was incredible to say the least but it only got better from here with Saturday’s lineup. The first artist I decided to visit was one that I actually have been listening to for a year or two and is yet another musician made popular by TikTok ~ beabadoobee. I’m sure you’ve all heard the coffee song that struck the radio stations in 2020. don’t stay awake for too long… Yeah, we all know it. beabadoobee is a beautiful Filipino-British singer from Iloilo City, Philippines. She wrote her famous song “Coffee” in 2017. It was the first song she ever wrote on her guitar (without the rapper, Powfu – this came much later). She released it along with a cover of Karen O’s “The Moon Song” and got immediate attention from the internet. Her set was nothing less than powerful. Now signed to the same label as the 1975, beabadoobee had the crowds hearts melting with her song “She Plays Bass,” which she wrote as a romantic ode to a female bass player and friend of hers. 

She plays bass, she plays bass

Nothing matters ’cause we’re both in space

How I wish we could just date

So you can teach me how to be more like you

Gay? Maybe. All I know is she’s cute as shit and I hope she gets to date a cute, female bassist soon. Hit. Her. UP! 

The next seriously queer as fuck artist, who needs more listens immediately, is Chelsea Cutler. The 25-year-old singer from Westport, Connecticut is still finding her footing in the music world but that didn’t stop Forecastle from giving her an hour slot on the main stage this weekend. Being besties with Quinn XCII – whose set was also phenomenal – may have had something to do with but she definitely deserved it. Cutler poured her heart out on that stage and we all cried. Later returning to the stage during Quinn XCII’s set was also such a treat for the audience. Thanks guys. While she has neither confirmed, nor denied, anything, we do know Cutler began openly dating women just a few years ago. And nothing can stop her now. Her bestie, Quinn XCII, and her fans, have supported her along her journey. Her hit song “Your Shirt” rings close to home for all of us. 

In your shirt that you gave me, half asleep, wishing I still had you

The final two acts of Saturday were Phoebe Bridgers and Tame Impala. Phoebe Bridgers – another bisexual queen – has been in the music industry for quite some time now. Coming originally from Pasadena, California, Bridgers started out as a basssit in the band Sloppy Jane, whose hits include “Glitterspit” and “They’re Coming to Take Me Away–Ha Ha!” Bridgers has since taken on a solo act of her own and gained huge popularity among the queers. She has spoken out several times in support of abortion and trans rights all over. Bridgers admitted to having an abortion whenever the Supreme Court document on abortion opinion was leaked earlier this year. She spoke of it again on stage this weekend before singing the protest song that she collaborated with Bright Eyes and Flea, of Red Hot Chili Peppers, for to speak up about the injustices of abortion “rights” in the US currently. Some of Bridgers most famous songs currently include “Motion Sickness” and “Sidelines”.

On the other side of the spectrum with really not much commentary on many things (probs due to the fact that they’re Australian as fuck) over the years, Tame Impala broke the acid-infused minds of everyone on Saturday night with their hypnotic lights, wacky techno sounds, and relentless bass drops. For years and years, we have wanted for Kevin Parker, frontman, to be gay but, alas, he is not for he is in a hetero marriage with child. However, Parker, and his bandmates, have been longtime supporters of the queer community in raising money for and performing at several Pride festivals worldwide and celebrating the success of gay marriage rights all around the globe. The set was mindboggling and I’m still trying to digest how they made me feel like I was tripping when I was damn near sober.

Finally, on Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!!!!!! We have the gayest of all, in my completely biased opinion, FLETCHER. Yes, all caps. And all snaps for the only queer artist to run directly through the crowd this weekend (surrounded by railings and security, of course). My friends and I have been waiting to see Fletcher for about 4 years so we had the highest of hopes and expectations. They were exceeded in all of the ways. Fletcher did it for the gays, baes, and theys all in one. Her most popular songs “Undrunk” and “girls girls girls,” a much more pleasant rendition of Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl” have blown up across TikTok and several other platforms. 

Tyler, the Creator closed on the festival this weekend with all of the pyrotechnics, including ongoing fireworks for Memorial Day being blown off in the background throughout the show. It was pretty crazy, honestly. He had a whole ass architectural structure built on stage for him because ya know… the queers are so extra. Between the comedic dancing, flaming bars, and crowd-antagonizing, Tyler encouraged a sense of fun and community on the waterfront Sunday night – despite his mispronunciation of Louisville several times! We love you regardless. Check out some of his most popular songs, such as “See You Again,” “EARFQUAKE,” and “WUSYANAME.”

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