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Walla Fest @ PhilaMOCA on August 8 and 9, featuring Mannequin Pussy, Norwegian Arms and More.

July 29, 2015

MannequinPussyOnline16Walla Fest is a two-day music, art and film fest happening August 8 and 9 at PhilaMOCA. This is the fest’s first year in Philadelphia after spending a few years at The Center Theater in Norristown. Mannequin Pussy (above), Norwegian Arms, Shannen Moser, Clique, Kississippi, Elliot Bech, Cory McConnell and others are scheduled to perform.

Our Tim Mulhern caught up with Makeba Robinson and Yesenia Bello, the co-founders of the fest, and learned about the history and mission of the event.

11698770_978715298816927_3184596230439015725_oAs a two-day event, Walla Fest is in its third year. How has the fest developed since its first year?

Makeba: I think our first two-night show, we only had an early show and a late show on the second day and then the first day was a typical one-day Walla Fest. Then, the second year, we did a two-day show was when we had an early show both days. This year, we’re having an early show and a late show both days, as well as screenings and vendors on both days. So I think this year is the first time that we’re doing everything on each day.

Yesenia: Also, I think before, our early show was smaller and more of our friends were playing.

Do your goals for each fest change or do they remain the same?

Makeba: I think each with show there are many goals. Some of them have been the same and some of them have changed. I think since the very first Walla Fest, we’ve always had a goal of just trying to make a place that people want to be in. Just an exciting environment where you could get into more than one thing at once. In terms of the music and the art that we have, I think maybe the goal for what those things should be has changed a little bit. I think something that we kind of enjoyed about Walla Fest is that it was a thing in the suburbs, which is unusual to have something like Walla in the suburbs. Now that we’re going to PhilaMOCA, that has changed a little bit.

Do you think the move to Philly will solidify Walla Fest’s place in the city’s music and arts scene?

Yesenia: I hope so. I think we’re kind of new to it all and we’ll kind of see. This whole audience is a little bit new to us.

Makeba: I feel like a good amount of people in Philly know about Walla Fest already. I hope it can be something that people will remember.

How do you decide what bands will perform and who will show art and films at the fest?

Makeba: I think we keep our ears to the ground. We keep up with who is playing music and we pay attention to it just naturally as people. We’re into finding new music. I think for the past couple Wallas, we’ve kind of made lists of who were interested in way ahead of time. It’s never really hard for us to know who we want to play at the show.

Yesenia: Usually people that are involved are also doing something else and have other side projects.

Where do you see Walla Fest going in the future?

Makeba: I think we want it to be something that is small but meaningful and exciting. I don’t think we see us becoming some big, outside festival. I think this next show is kind of close to what the future of Walla is. Every year really has been super different from the very beginning. Moving to Philly is a big thing.

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