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Think and Die Thinking Returns This Weekend

In Music
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After making it’s debut last year, the Think and Die Thinking music festival returns this weekend with two days of punk and indie music performed by bands with women, people of color and members of the queer and transgender communities.

Last year, Rich Gutierrez and Christine Tupou introduced the idea to San Jose with two days of music at the Billy DeFrank Center and one day of music Streetlight Records.

“It was a trial thing (last year),” Tupou says. “We didn’t quite know how it was going to go. We had never booked a fest before. It went better than we expected.”

This year, the focus remains the same, but they’ve made a few changes, like hosting all three days at the Billy DeFrank Center.

Though, last year wasn’t without its problems. They were faced with some last-minute band cancellations, plus several local bands got upset that they weren’t allowed to play, not fully understanding the mission of the festival. According to Tupou, women, people of color and members of the queer and transgender communities are underrepresented at punk and indie shows and therefore don’t always feel comfortable there. They wanted to do their part to help to change that.

“There’s always going to be those few people that are mad because they can’t play a fest,” Tupou says. I felt personally responsible for telling each and every one of those people why we were doing this. At the end of the day it’s a pride thing. I think it was good to have full disclosure and be really transparent of what our intentions were. The mission statement still rings true because we’re still making space for people in San Jose that don’t really feel comfortable at shows and don’t get to see people like themselves on stage playing music.”

This year the organizers decided, while still staying steadfast to their original mission statement, to book a broader range of artists including non-punk bands, performance artists and comedians.

“I want to expand the fest as much as possible,” Tupou says. “I want to keep the theme punk and indie, but I want to show people you don’t have to limit yourselves to one form of art. You don’t have to play punk. You can get a drum machine and play that kind of music and still hang out with punks. It’s making room for anything that you don’t usually see and sometimes you don’t even know you want to see, other than when you see it it’s completely insightful and inspiring.”

Think and Die Thinking is August 24 to August 26 at the Billy DeFrank Center. Tickets are $7-$10. More info.

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