Last October some of the biggest names in psychobilly and horrorpunk gathered in Austin, Texas. Well, the Halloween season is on us again. Which means, the Freak Show Festival is back from the grave and ready to party! So step right up, all you cool kats and groovy kittens! I have an exclusive interview with festival runner, Rachel Simmons about this years show!
Tell us a little a bit about yourself?
My name is Rachel Simmons, I am from Austin, Texas and together with my husband Clint, own an event production and staffing company, 3 Way Events. I am a wife and a mother to my son and Freak Show.
Tell us about how Freakshow Festival came to be?
Freak Show all started with the random desire to have midgets at my birthday party about 6 or so years ago. I am an event planner, creative, visionary – so of course I plan my own birthday parties (lame, I know) and I just got to thinking one night how fun it would be to have midgets wrestling each other for my birthday – that would be the best birthday present ever! Then, as the idea sat in my head I realized there was so much more potential to corral the concept into an organized chaos of non-traditional performers. The kind of stuff you just can’t turn away from, that speaks to the primal desire to see freaky things happen. The stars aligned and the concept fell into place with the rockabilly/psychobilly scene. It’s a perfect marriage of worlds, really. Of course, I haven’t had the midget wrestlers out yet to Freak Show…I have to save things to keep it growing and fresh each year. So stay tuned in 2012, maybe you’ll get to see some little people going at it in a vat of ky…
When is the show? Also, you had a stellar line-up this year, who do you have on board for year two?
October 15th, 2011 in Austin Texas! I love our line-up this year. I loved our line-up last year but this year we’re a little more punk with MAD SIN as our headliner – and I love it! We’ve for sure got some diversity in the scene going on with horror-punk favorites, Calabrese and the gorgeous and soulful Devil Doll. When putting the line-up together this year we couldn’t ignore the MANY requests that came in after lasts years show to bring back Koffin Kats; we’re stoked to have the guys back. Opening up the show this year we have two great local bands, The Pickled Punks and the cuties of Danger*Cakes. Solid line-up, I am so happy with the way it came together and I am beyond happy that we’re offering so many different styles within the scene.
Outside of music, what other things can fans take part in?
Outside of the music, there is SO much to do! Like I stated earlier, my vision for Freak Show is organized chaos. I want you to feel like a kid in a candy store – so overwhelmed with so much you want to see and do you don’t know where to start! PURE Cirkus is back to put on the ever popular and crazy shows under the main tent. We’ve added horror go-go’s Dolls from the Crypt to shake it up under the main tent after the circus shows, The VERY popular Brass Ovaries pole dancers are back – who were the stars of Freak Show last year, 999 Eyes is also back with their Museum of Mutantstrosities, and we’re stoked to have added the punk brass marching band – Minor Mishap and BODY SUSPENSION specialists Aztlan Arts. Not to mention we’ve more than doubled our roaming performers to walk-about and harass everyone!
How welcoming has the Austin music scene been of the show?
The Austin music scene has been overwhelmingly open armed to Freak Show. I couldn’t be more appreciative. So welcoming, that I’ve got new numbers on my speed dial because of it. And it’s not just Austin, not just Texas, not just USA. We’ve received positive response quite literally from around the world. You know you’re doing something special when you’ve got people from overseas emailing you to ask what hotel to stay in. It’s flattering really. Freak Show is my work of art, that instead of hanging on a wall, people get to walk around in.
How do you think the show has progressed in it’s second year?
The show has progressed in a sense that people know who we are, they are still talking about the great time they had last year and we’re not having to beg for them to come check it out. People WANT to come back because last year they saw that we’ve got a good thing started here and believe in us and that we’re intent on continuing to take the show to the next level. Which is what we’ve done this year by beefing it up with a lot more performances, adding the Pin Up Girl contest and offering free hot rod parking. We want our fans to know that we’re listening to what they have to say and we intend on making this an annual destination for people around the world. This isn’t a music festival. It’s a whole damn experience.
Any thing in closing?
In closing? I just want to say thank you. Thank you to everyone for supporting the show. Your support of the show is allowing me to create my dream and bring my vision to life. And every year it’s just going to get bigger and better. We’ll see y’all soon!
For more on the freakiness, check out their website!