Earlier this fall, Bushwig Festival – now in its sixth season – was hosted at The Knockdown Center by Brooklyn artists Horrorchata and Babes Trust, who founded Bushwig in 2012 “to create a larger platform for the thriving drag and performance communities in New York,” according to VICE. International drag stars and enthusiasts from the world over flock to Maspeth, Queens for the colorful and creative event with headliners this year featuring RuPaul’s Drag Race stars Alyssa Edwards, Thorgy Thor, and Dida Ritz with an inspiring celebration of queer culture and the art of drag. Photographer Fred Attenborough captured the magic through the lens of his camera and shared his thoughts with us on the importance of this festival for the community he now calls home.
“When I first moved to Bushwick I didn’t really know how to find my tribe. There were bars and clubs but none really had queer parties yet and this was before the era of apps. So my friends Sam Matty and Brad figured we should start throwing them ourselves. Matty and I assumed new names; Horrorchatta and Sophie Skin-Tight, becoming some of the first queens to take on this new territory. Brad took on the role of promotion and made us both sexy loud and fun outfits to wear. Sam Dj’ed for us. Parties were born and out of the woodwork came more and more Queens that now felt like they had a place in our newly forming community.” Fred explains.
“This community grew and grew and with the advent of RuPaul’s Drag Race, even more girls started to experiment with a look. Matty had an idea. What if we created a festival that celebrated the Queens birthed in Bushwick and the unique style of experimental performance-based drag that was emerging out of the community? That party was called Bushwig. Now in its sixth year, Bushwig has exploded and people come from all over the world to watch and participate in the event. Two full days of performances by Queens who push the limit of what gender means and how it can be expressed.”
“Bushwig is one of the most free, fun and creative atmospheres I have ever been a part of. The diversity of people that I have met through this event all getting to live their best lives is such a unique thing to see. There are really no words for the energy this space has. That’s why I became interested in photographing it. I hope that my images allow you to feel the energy of the people who are involved. I would not be the person I am today without Sam Matty and Brad and the community that grew up around us. I am forever grateful to have met them here and for them to push me to do drag, find myself, and ultimately find my favorite subject matter for my photography. Come and join us next year: I promise you won’t be disappointed!”
Interested to learn more about Bushwig Festival and how you can get involved next year? Visit www.bushwig.com
See more of Fred’s work on Instagram @fcaphotonyc