7Feathers bringing six festivals to community in 2017

7Feathers is a name that for many has become synonymous with a seamless synergy between art and charity, a nonprofit that throws really cool events that directly affect those they partner with and their entire community with fun, unique festivals. This year, 7Feathers is bringing the Denton community six festivals that are a mixture of day, half-day, and multiple day events.

Ring in the crux of spring the Mayday Festival on May 13th. Proceeds will go to the Denton Animal Support Foundation.

“It’s an ode to May flowers and the coming together and celebrating springtime and sunshine,” 7Feathers co-founder and board member Michelle Keefer says. “We’re encouraging people to come out with their fur families and their kids. It will be a true family day thing. We’ll have music inside and two different stages, one at Jack’s Tavern and one at Juice Lab, and we’ll have the outside stage. We’ll have workshops throughout the day. We call it a festival because even though it’s one day, the layers of activities and the vibe that we bring to it is very much a festival vibe.”

The collective’s next festival is benefitting a Denton chapter of the national organization the Good Samaritan Society. The chapter is looking to add an art wing for its many residents and the nearby community. The June 10th Roll Back the Classics festival will be harken back to the ‘40s, ‘50s, and ‘60s. 

“All the music and all the activities and the car show and everything is ‘40s, ‘50s, ‘60s reminiscent. You’re encouraged to come in garb, we’ll have a poodle skirt workshop and a jacks tournament, and all kinds of things,” Keefer says. “We do anything we can to support music, art, family, nature, so this was a good fit for us.”

The Hot Damn! Jam Festival will be back to Denton come July. Keefer says that this festival took their group to the next level last year, garnering the attention of hundreds of diverse kinds of people and beginning to build their volunteer base. 

“[Last year] it gave us a huge boost in spirit because we covered all of our costs for throwing the event. We went through like ten kegs of beer, we made tacos. It was crazy,” Keefer says. “We had over 400 people show up. We even had the cops show up around 11 and they said, ‘I’m not even going to break this up. I’ve never seen this in Denton and it’s so cool. All the times I’ve come to break up a house party, it’s always the same kind of people there.’ We have such a diverse group of people from all different ages and all types of styles and musical backgrounds. It was a really good event for us in a lot of ways and we recruited 12 volunteers that are still actively participating with us in all of our events.”

The August event is the collective’s magnum opus, and materializes one of their founding goals. The Feather Together festival will be the first camping festival in all of North Texas, and will span from Saturday through Sunday morning, with an option to add on VIP access to Friday night music, camping, and activities. Expect morning yoga, breakfast, and workshops through Sunday morning as well.

“We’re recruiting artists to do large art installations and light installations,” Keefer says. “There’s going to be a hammock forest, there’ll be multiple stages.”

The Nightmare on Elm Street Festival will be coming to Juice Lab this year once again. Another returning festival is KidsCan Denton in December, where everyone performing will be under the age of 18. 

“There’ll be lots of workshops and crafts and that’s a free event for parents to come bring their kids and expose them to the thought that, ‘You can be a musician now and you don’t have to wait until you grow up,’” Keefer says.

The depth and frequency of these festivals is astounding to look at, but Keefer says that all of 7Feathers’s efforts spring from wanting to take the best aspects of their favorite festivals and incorporating them into an experience you simply won’t get at any one other place. 

“Just between the seven core members, last year, we probably went to over 50 music festivals. The reason this all started is that we’re all pretty big concert-goers and festival-goers and we’re wanting to bring that feeling that you have at a festival to a community space in Denton that can just exist all the time,” Keefer says. “That’s the initial passion that 7Feathers sprung from and everything else goes back to that feeling.”

Keefer describes the group as a “completely altruistic organization,” noting that the group gives their event proceeds to the organizations they partner with. Some of their events are fundraisers for the collective’s own operating costs, but those are few and far between. 

“We give it to the people that we’re partnering with because the way we see it, we would love to have a homeless program as a part of 7Feathers, but our resources are tapped in event throwing, so we’re going to partner with the programs that are already facilitated that need help with what they do and what they’re already structured to do and give them the money or supplies, and just funnel it that way,” Keefer says.

7Feathers has accomplished much in less than a year of being a public organization; they are in the midst of setting up a physical location, partnering with Backyard on Bell for the establishment. Both the organizations they partner with and the community at large will continue to benefit from the breadth of festivals on the 7Feathers calendar this year and beyond.

“It’s a way to serve the community in Denton. Whenever you’re coming to a 7Feathers festival, not only is it going to be fun, but you’re also going to get exposed to new things that you might not have seen or experienced before, and that draws from national music festivals,” Keefer says. “They’re family events where you know there’s not a lot of opportunities for families to be able to go out and take their kids with them and feeling comfortable having a drink and watching live music and hanging out with friends. Everything we do is tied to serve a community cause. It’s going to support the growth of all these things in Denton.”

 Header image design by Brittany Keeton