Everything You Need to Know About Bushwig, Brooklyn's Big, Fun Drag Festival

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Zachary Zane

If you’re a queer person that has any respect for drag and the arts, then you should be ashamed of yourself if you haven’t heard of Bushwig.

Founded in 2012 by Horrorchata (from San Antonio, Texas) and Babes Trust (from London), Bushwig is festival devoted to drag, music, and love. What began as a one-day event, with about 30 performers in a tiny backyard venue has quickly transformed over the last few years into what is now a two-day festival with more than 200 performances from drag queens, DJs, and musicians.

PRIDE sat down with Miss DiDi Disco, Bushwig's director of communications, to gain a better understanding of what the festival is all about, as well as what attendees can expect to see.

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PRIDE: Why was Bushwig created?

Didi Disco: Bushwig was created to give a platform to the community and help create a space for performance artists to showcase and celebrate what drag is to them. Over the years, we’ve made bigger and bigger strides toward that ultimate goal and have helped foster a space where "drag" is really redefined.

At our 4th annual festival, Lady Bunny (founder of Wigstock, the predecessor and major inspiration for Bushwig), handed off a torch to Horrorchata—passing the legacy of drag onto a new generation of New York performance artists.

Bushwig honors the history of drag here in New York City, but also knows how to keep the spotlight on the Brooklyn community. Our drag lineup this year is Brooklyn-focused and many of our musicians and DJs are from the community as well. This year we also see the return of BushSWAG, an inclusive marketplace at the festival with more than 30 local (mostly Brooklyn-based) designers, retailers, and vendors offering wigs, clothes, jewelry, art, and more.

Bushwig continues to bring some of Brooklyn’s most artistic and ambitious people together to celebrate this community that we’ve created for ourselves.

Why is Bushwig important?

Drag for so many (both performers and spectators) provides an escape into fantasy. It provides strength, community, and positivity. It encourages the outrageously creative. Drag takes sexuality, politics, gender, race and creates an art form that humors the human experience. [So we] need it more now than ever. We believe that art matters, that history matters, and that the younger creative community here in New York City matters!

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How does Bushwig differ from DragCon?

What’s that….?? Just kidding! Well, I think a major distinction is that Bushwig is a festival and DragCon is a convention. Bushwig is focused on the arts and performances. It serves as an equal space for all to contribute and participate, not just be a spectator. It is an event for all and while Bushwig is getting bigger and bigger each year, we aren’t forgetting the people that have helped us since day one. The festival thrives when its guests participate in its creation. A lot of the people that help build Bushwig each year are volunteers from the community. Bushwig is a celebration of Brooklyn drag and an applause to its community.

What can attendees expect to see?

This year our program includes projection art mapping, disco dance floors, interactive performance booths, world-famous DJs, live music, a locally sourced smorgasbord, the main stage, an outdoor stage, and a marketplace. We have the very best of the best Brooklyn drag performers headlining alongside RuPaul's Drag Race alumni Alyssa Edwards, Thorgy Thor and Dida Ritz. We’re really excited about our music headliners (Cupcakke, Macy Rodman and Era Istrefi) as well as the variety of international DJs to keep us dancing between sets and wig changes. Oh, and all the after parties are free to attend with admission to the festival!

Any surprises planned?

We just announced Era Istrefi has been added to the lineup! We may or may not have a few more GAGs, but that’s some hot tea I just can’t serve yet...

You can buy your tickets to Bushwig right here! It's happening this weekend, September 23 and 24 in Brooklyn. Hope to see you there!

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