INTRSKTR is a new Leicester-based intersectional feminist collective made up of three members: Cynthia Rodríguez, Alex Goodwin and Gemma Wicks, who opens the conversation with “okay, it’s time to be serious.”
It’s reflective of their style – laid-back, playful, and punk as all fuck. Bratty; in the best possible way.
Their first big venture – a word they would literally never use themselves – is Glitterfest, a queer DIY punk festival and the first of its kind in the city. The idea, like most good ideas, was born over pizza. “We just sort of decided it would be cool to put a festival on. So we booked it and asked our friend’s bands to play” says Gemma.
“It’s your old-school kind of punk event,” Alex continues. “The organisation of it is quite chaotic. We don’t have a ‘strategy’. It’s about building a grassroots community, where you’re not taking any kind of sponsorship, it’s about the art.”
It was set up to, as the group describes it, provide both a platform and a home for people who wouldn’t otherwise have one. As proponents of Leicester’s burgeoning queer music and art scene, the collective, as Cynthia explains, “felt like we needed to do something that was an alternative to regular Pride.”
“Something for queer people, something beyond the white, cis, gay, middle-class kind of person from a certain age range and a certain background.”
The increasingly corporate nature of traditional Pride events is clearly a problem for the group, and they are emphatic in their reasons for breaking away from the mainstream. Accessibility and representation are key.
“Quite often, these events are not affordable,” Alex says. Or alternatively, they are kept free through sponsorship and “bands from X-Factor to draw a crowd, rather than local queer acts”, Gemma adds.
It’s here, when discussing these issues, that despite claiming no formal strategy for the festival, the group’s collective vision is remarkably clear. They know exactly how they want it to look. “The music is political, the people are political,” Alex asserts.
“The big Pride events, when they first started they were about challenging and now they’re about celebration. That’s totally important, but we’re living in really fucked up times. It’s about people being loud again.”
“It’s a bit of a trend at the moment that the queer community is starting to look at Pride events across the world. There’s just been an alternative Pride in Athens, there’s been some in the UK.”
What is it about Leicester that means it should be involved in this movement, and why now? Cynthia responds without pause: “Because there is a scene here.”
“Particularly, there are a lot of trans performers and people of the trans umbrella being open and telling kids that it’s okay to be themselves. And that’s something a lot of us needed when we were growing up. It’s never too late to have it.”
Alex adds, “Eyes are going to start turning here, you can feel it. So if the country’s cultural eye is going to be on this city, we need to think about what we are saying. People are angry, people are dying and hurting. As a city, are we going to be part of challenging that?”
The answer for them, unequivocally, is yes. Their weapon of choice? Glitter. “It’s the perfect metaphor because it’s really obnoxious. It looks great, then you think you’ve got rid of it but it’s still there. Even after you’ve left.” says Alex.
Taking inspiration from Nottingham’s Fan Club, and Coventry’s Revolt nights, INTRSKTR “only works with safe spaces, in places where any kind of hate speech is not welcome, where sexual or physical aggression is taken seriously.”
As organisers, the group doesn’t deal in half-heartedness and they absolutely believe their own hype. Discussing the lineup, which features a number of prominent Leicester bands including Kermes, Jitterz and Ash Mammal, they’re so enthused it is difficult to contain. They don’t try.
“It’s gonna be very noisy, very messy.”
Glitterfest takes place at The Cookie on 3 September. Tickets are available from Gigantic.
A suspended ticket scheme has been arranged for anyone in need of support with the cost of a ticket. For further information, contact INTRSKTR on Facebook.