Summer Camp Festival is sashaying their way into the Australian touring circuit this November for their debut run of shows, and they have a KILLER line up waiting for you. Years & Years, Big Freedia, Sophie Ellis Bextor, Cub Sport, The Veronicas, Ladyhawke, CouCou Chloe, Kinder, Jodie Harsh, JessB and more will entertain audiences across Sydney and Melbourne for a huge festival day that plans to turn the volume up loud, and celebrate love in a huge way.
Summer Camp Festival is the event I wish I had growing up. Something that I could look towards when I was a teenager and excitedly wait to turn 18, so I could run into the showgrounds and be exactly who I wanted to be. It’s also a place for queer creatives of different backgrounds to showcase their indvidsual craft, and inspire so many others. It’s an eventl that has already provided a sense of reassurance to so many queer people, as it’s the one of a kind festival outside of Mardi Gras and pride month events that reminds us we do belong, and that there is space for us.
Ahead of these shows, ThomasBleach.com chatted to some of the acts you can expect to see about their music and art, as well as the importance of a festival like this.
Art Simone is one of Australia’s premier drag performers. For over a decade the Melbourne based artist has been entertaining crowds across the country with their campy performances, and even starred in the World Of Wonder original Highway To Heel in 2020. But most famously in 2021 she participated in the inaugural season of Rupaul’s Drag Race Down Under, where she cemented herself as a household name.
THOMAS BLEACH: You’re playing Summer Camp Festival 2022, so why do you personally think it’s important that we finally have a queer festival like this to bring together drag and music and also create a safe space for fans and artists alike?
ART SIMONE: I am SO excited for Summer Camp Festival! Having an event like this is so important to me because it means we can be around like-minded individuals with the ability to fully relax and be our true authentic selves without fear. My mum has always instilled in me to be myself, and while I always strive to. It can still be difficult in certain spaces, so to have this it means we can be loud, proud and party!
TB: You were one of the finalists in the first season of Rupaul’s Drag Race Down Under last year. What would you say was the biggest misconception you debunked about the show whilst filming it?
AS: That RuPaul is real! There is a lot of mystery around RuPaul, and there were even rumours that she was green-screened into the studio *laughs*. But I can assure you that she was there, and I was so shocked to see she actually is that beautiful in person. I thought there were going to be a series of pulleys, levers and vaseline that made her look gorgeous for the cameras. But it was so shocking to see that yes, she looks that good in person too.
TB: Your “That means nothing” comment during your initial elimination went absolutely viral, and you’ve since taken control of the narrative and turned it into a hilarious lip-sync mash up with Whitney Houston’s iconic anthem. Was that something that was personally important for you to turn a negative moment in your journey into something you can now laugh about?
AS: That moment captured raw and real emotion. I don’t think anyone should feel ashamed for letting themselves process their emotions, bottling it up, and smiling through the pain is much worse. Although preferably not on an international television show and in safe space with friends or family. That being said… I love to look back and laugh at it now and that’s why I’ve taken back control. I’ve made merch, the audio has been spliced into performances, and I can giggle. At the end of the day I can see it for what it was, a camp moment in television history, and apparently my villain origin story.
TB: What is your number one go-to pride anthem?
AS: ‘Absolutely Everybody’! This track has been blasted across every venue and space I have worked over the years and is always met with so much joy, celebration, and fun!
Hailing from Melbourne, Jawbreakers are the high energy drag and electronic DJ and producer duo of Kali Fornikate and Sabrina Babyslut. Taking club and festival stages across the country, Jawbreakers have gone from DJ-ing hours of pop-dance bangers to also releasing their own music. Their debut EP ‘Just A Taste’ is a dynamic introduction to their colourful artistry, and they are ready to get audiences dancing at Summer Camp Festvial.
THOMAS BLEACH: Your debut EP ‘Just A Taste’ is out now! What is the most surprising thing people will hear or learn about you while listening to the EP?
JAWBREAKERS: I think knowing that we have had these songs ready to go since 2020 and it was just a waiting game till everything settled that we could release them. That and we bought these iconic bags that say “Ciao Bella” on them when we were in Rome, and that’s what we dedicated the song to.
TB: ‘Bodycount’ featuring Clara Fable is such a fun and bouncy track. Can you explain the creative process behind this song?
J: Thank you! The track was made during lockdown so while being trapped at home we were just imagining being on a beach in the middle of summer slut dropping and partying to some fun pop music! We also wanted this track to be the main pop track of the EP so we really dove into the pop song structure including the sexy feeling breakdowns from the early 2000’s!
TB: Your debut single ‘Boyfriend’ saw you bring Ashlee Simpson’s smash hit ‘Boyfriend’ into 2022. How much does the early 2000’s inspire your artistry, and vision for Jawbreakers?
J: We were very young during the 2000’s. I have memories of watching the ‘Boyfriend’ music video clips after the saturday morning cartoons finished, and I was obsessed with it ever since! There is such a resurgence of Y2K trends fashion wise and also musically that it felt correct to bring back this iconic track which truly was so underrated IMO!
TB: Like Ashlee Simpson, has there ever been a time where you’ve been accused of stealing someone’s boyfriend?
JB: No we are both too busy for boys, so the thought of giving someone’s boyfriend enough attention for them to think that? No ma’am. We are struggling keeping our Tamagotchi’s alive.
TB: You’re playing Summer Camp Festival 2022, so why do you personally think it’s important that we finally have a queer festival like this to bring together drag and music and also create a safe space for fans and artists alike?
JB: I think its amazing that there is spaces that are dedicated to showcasing exclusively queer artists and their work! The vibe at all queer events usally feels so much safer to the community because there isnt any feeling of being the odd one out. It is also so important for younger queer people to see that there is a space for us in the community and doing to all queer based events could be some younger queer people first time seeing the community and realsie theyre not so alone.
TB: Who are some queer creatives that you are currently obsessing over that you think we should get acquainted with ASAP?
JB: Peach PRC, Cobrah, and Saucy Santana are literally our obsessions at the moment. Get into them asap because if you’re not, you’re missing out
From across the pond, Jodie Harsh is a London based drag performer, producer and DJ who has made a huge impact on British and world drag. Jodie is no stranger to Australia and has played pride events and clubs across the country, and she’s ready to go even bigger and harder when she touches down this November with her new music in tow. ‘Shock ‘and ‘Good Time’ are some of the new songs you should expect, as well as possibly some of the official remixes she’s done for the likes of Kylie Minouge and Charli XCX.
THOMAS BLEACH: Your new single ‘Shock’ is out now and it’s an absolute club banger. Can you explain the creative process behind the song?
JODIE HARSH: It came about pretty quickly in the studio. I had an idea for this song about an electricity between two people when things get a bit sexy, and i wanted the musical vibe to be a bit pumpy housey, sort of old school Disclosure vibes. I got together with Clementine Douglas who’s singing on the track AS I really love co-writing songs with her. It came about pretty quickly. I think I spent a couple of hours on the beat and getting some chords down, and then we wrote the song really quickly. Maybe 45 minutes!
TB: How many versions did it go through to get it to where it is now?
JH: I worked on it a bit on the road here and there after the session. I was on tour with Jessie Ware so had loads of hotel room time to get it together and make tweaks. I don’t really like working on music on the move, it’s not my usual practice. I know some people love to hone in on a project with headphones on a plane or dressing room, but it doesn’t really work for me, maybe because of all the distractions. I need to go fully focused in a dark studio and really get into the zone, and I like a full day running into the evening to immerse myself in a tune. I run around the studio a lot to hear how things sound from different parts of the room and even from outside the studio with the door half closed. I’m super hyperactive in a session. It’s kind of weird, but I definitely know it’s the best way to make something I’m happy with.
TB: Earlier this year you also released ‘Good Time’ which pulsates with a vibrant sound and feel-good energy. What is something about this song that people may not know already?
JH: That’s another song that happened really quickly. It was a bit of an afterthought in a session with Frances when we were supposed to be focused on writing a different song on the piano. We finished that one up, then moved onto this mad beat I’d made a while before and thrashed out this cute story about feeling rubbish when you wake up in the morning and the only thing that will make you feel ok is a night out and a dance.
TB: You are coming to Australia at the end of the year for Summer Camp Festival. You are no stranger to Australian shores, so what is one of the funniest or craziest memories you have from playing a show down under?
JH: I love Australian crowds and I feel really at home there. I can’t wait to come over! I once played Mardi Gras, and when I came off stage I walked into my dressing room to find a certain Miss Courtney Act using it to entertain a gentleman. I turned on my heel and left them to carry on. She’ll kill me for saying that!
TB: What is your favourite thing about playing pride festivals and shows like Summer Camp Festival?
It’s all about the music and the crowd. That festival energy – you can’t beat it! I can’t wait to get down there and see everyone.
Earlier this year Kinder took to the Big Gay Day stage in Brisbane and delivered a captivating pride themed show that elevated their high energy to new levels. And in November they’re gonna do it all over again, and this time even bigger. With bangers like ‘Rasta’, ‘Come Along’, ‘Bus Stop’, and ‘No Sleep’ under their belt, they’re going to ignite the dancefloor in a huge way. Prepare for a pop-dance takeover when they take to the stage.
THOMAS BLEACH: Your new single ‘Rasta’ featuring Gold Fang is out now and it is an absolute anthem. Can you explain the creative process behind this track?
K: Thank you so much! This song actually took around 3 years to complete. We started the idea from a voice memo Briony sang on her iPhone which was originally in the first demo. We wrote the whole song in a day. But it never felt quite finished so we kept working with other people to get it right trying out new ideas, plus our music taste changed over the years so we wanted to keep it current. Kim from The Presets ended up jumping on production and really started to make it feel complete. But we still felt the vocal was missing something, and one day we heard a demo from an artist named Gold Fang and I was like that’s it! He’s the missing piece! So he recorded a freestyle and here we are now.
TB: ‘Bus Stop’ is a song that still makes me move immediately when it starts being played. What is a random fun fact about the song that people may not know?
K: We originally just wrote the words as scratch lyrics that we were going to replace and create a whole other story. It was kinda just a joke about our dad. Those lyrics were just to get down the melody idea, however, we never ended up changing the lyrics or the theme of the song and just we kept singing about a bus. So the lyrics took about 20 minutes in total to write.
TB: The playful production of ‘Bus Stop’ reminded me of Icona Pop’s incredible discography. So what was sonically inspiring you for the production of this track?
K: We were actually at first confused about this song, because it was so major and happy but we wanted it to also have a dark element and we didn’t know how to find that balance. On the original demo I made, it’s quite light and way more poppy. We started working with a producer known as Made By Tsuki. We showed him references of artists we were really liking at the time, Alok and Golden Features. He managed to create a drop which was both dark and gritty whilst still keeping some lightness overall.
TB: You’re playing Summer Camp Festival 2022, so why do you personally think it’s important that we finally have a queer festival like this to create a safe space for fans and artists alike?
K: It’s going to be so much fun. no music festival in Australia has ever had an energy like this. it’s going to be a true celebration of freedom and diversity in a large scale touring festival for the first time, and we are ecstatic to share this with the artists and music fans alike. It’s about time a festival like this existed.
TB: What is your number one go-to pride anthem?
K: Everybody’s Free! TUNE!
Summer Camp Festival 2022
Saturday 5 November – Centennial Parklands, Sydney
Saturday 12 November – Coburg Velodrome, Melbourne
For tickets and full touring details visit HERE