Of the many things that have been postponed, canceled, closed or otherwise affected by the pandemic, live music and artistic interactions are among the greatest losses. The Duke Coffeehouse, normally known for its live shows and free tea, has been largely shuttered for the past year due to COVID-19. However, on April 10 and 11, the Duke Coffeehouse is presenting its annual Brickside Music Festival in collaboration with fellow DUU committee WXDU Durham.
In an April 1 press release, a call is made for “all cryptids, mystics and specters [to] come transcend, space, time, and matter at Duke Coffeehouse’s annual Brickside Music Festival.” There will be in-person activities on Saturday from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. and virtual music performances from talented young artists starting at 8 pm on both Saturday and Sunday.
Duke students can register for the in-person components using Duke Groups, which will be held outside in the Coffeehouse parking lot. The press release advertises a zine workshop from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. and screen printing activities from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. with an exclusive festival design. It is important to note, however, that only Duke students will be allowed to attend, and interested students must register and present their Duke IDs upon arrival.
Throughout the spring semester, the Coffeehouse has been holding virtual shows, with artists like Jeff Rosenstock, Kyoju and others performing over live stream. In such a difficult time for artists, it is especially important in this time to show support for the up-and-coming acts that the Duke Coffeehouse often presents.
The Brickside Music Festival’s musical components will be free to all and live-streamed on Duke Coffeehouse’s Facebook page. On Saturday, the festivities will begin with Chapel Hill indie group Le Weekend, who emphasize the “melody, harmony, time changes [and] hooks” in their music. Next up is French-born and Canadian-based producer and performing artist Ouri, whose skills span across genres and instruments from being a DJ, a cellist, a harpist, a singer and a songwriter. Finally on Saturday, the South Florida native Helado Negro will perform at 10:00 p.m.. The Coffeehouse’s press release describes Negro as a “cosmic pop virtuoso,” with his lyrical pop music exploring “the expressivity within intense states of being, Latinx identity, and pluralistic sensibilities.”
Sunday’s musical acts start off at 8:00 p.m. with a performance from woodwind player and member of the Mountain Goats, Matt Douglas, who recently released a solo project entitled Manage My Mind. Douglas is also a member of The Hot at Nights. Egyptian artist Nadah el Shazly will perform at 9:00 p.m. Coffeehouse’s press release highlights the vocalist, producer and sound artist’s music for its“time-bending soundscapes that will subsume the festival.” Finally, the experimental artist Moor Mother will bring the festival to a close with a mix of “Low fi/dark rap/chill step/ blk girl blues/witch rap/coffee shop riot gurl songs/southern girl dittys/black ghost songs,” while the audience “embark[s] upon a hypnotic journey infusing hardcore electronics, poetry, noise, and jazz.”
Duke Coffeehouse is located at 10 Epworth Dorm Ln on Duke’s East Campus. In normal times, it is open from 6:00 p.m.- 2:00 a.m. with free coffee, tea and snacks for visitors.