Inspired by a desire to create space for creatives of Southwest Asian and North African (SWANA) descent, Philly-based DJ, writer, and organizer Rana Fayez founded YallaPunk in 2017. Radical and multidisciplinary in nature, over the years YallaPunk has featured performances from musicians, poets, and comedians as well as film screenings, workshops, and panels.
“Originally, YallaPunk was a reaction to the changing political landscape,” Fayez recalls. “It was built for creatives from SWANA backgrounds to gather in an accountable and inclusive space free from sexism, Islamophobia, transphobia, homophobia, and bigotry for discourse on social issues.”
Stretching across four days and multiple venues Yalla Punk begins its third annual run on Thursday, August 29, 2019, with a film screening at PhilaMOCA. On Friday and Saturday, the festival takes over Johnny Brenda’s with a packed lineup of bands like Gaz, the Droopies, Wake Island, and more. Sunday at CraftArts, the festival highlights the work of several renowned poets and experimental/noise musicians. Complete with comedians, food and jewelry vendors and more, YallaPunk is full of gems designed to pique the interest of all who want to attend, regardless of background. The biggest YallaPunk to date, this year’s festival goes further toward realizing Fayez’s vision of creating a community that is inclusive and intentional.
“Entering our third year, our focus is starting to shift more from reacting to nurturing the community we have built. We realized that while reactions are necessary, they can be exhausting. A strong and resilient community is much more capable of creating long-term change," says Fayez.
YallaPunk runs August 29 through September 1, with a roster of events around the city. For a full schedule and tickets, visit online.