My aim with X-Ray Spex was to spread joy, fun enthusiasm and maybe subconsciously raise awareness of issues other than romantic love.
- Poly Styrene. (Sugarbuzz magazine, 2008)
Everyone enjoys a midsummer festival, but do you really want to celebrate July 4th, the birthday of American Nationalism? Many people have been growing increasingly uncomfortable with aspect of 4th of July celebrations including the blind patriotism and flag waving that makes many within minority groups feel unfairly disenfranchised from the country we live in. POC, LGBTQ people, females, religious minorities, immigrants and other groups are increasingly at the business end of bigotry that correlates with an increase in nationalistic fervor, and an "us vs them" attitude that comes along with it. Let's have a summer festival celebrating July 3rd instead. What is there to celebrate on the 3rd? Poly Styrene's birthday!
Poly Styrene was a woman of color with a unmistakably unique aesthetic and approach that managed to freak out many of the other supposedly iconoclastic punks of the era. She was a trained opera singer who re-directed her talents during the original explosion of UK punk around 1977. She sang about personal identity as a minority, rebellion and freedom, and peppered her otherwise very upbeat very rock n roll music with incisive social commentary. Unfortunately, she passed away in 2011, but her spirit is still very much resonant in a lot of us who are still here. We want to take the spirit of Poly and use it as an inspiration for this festival, as a sort of birthday party / reimagining of the American tradition of the 4th of July.
We would like to reimagine a more representative and inclusive spirit around the tradition of the 4th. We want to replace blind nationalism with international solidarity, and preserve the spirit of community and belonging, while creating a platform for people of all walks and identities to express themselves in the spirit of joyful rebellion. We feel that it's an awesome opportunity that Poly-Styrene's birthday nearly overlaps the 4th, and we want to take her positive radical spirit and use it to guide a different kind of celebration around our national holiday.
We aim to plant the seeds for an annual national celebration on or near July 3rd each year, to take place in communities across the country on a DIY basis. We want to take the spirit of joyous rebellion from Poly and use it as a lens to re-focus the 4th of July celebration.
We want fun, we want community, we want to celebrate diversity, we want a better world for those that suffer. To hell with blind nationalism, to hell with war fetishism, to hell with bigotry.
Organize your own Fuck The Fourth Fest. It's your fest. Run wild.