EVOLVEFest, billed as the “Northeast’s leading transformational/transitional culture gathering,” has been cancelled by their venue, after heinous comments made by the founder & CEO David Bryson have come to light. A coalition of ravers, burners & activists have exposed the anti-gay, anti-Semitic & hate-filled comments and organized a community response calling for a response from the site & the event leadership. The story was picked up by a couple of sites, but no one anticipated the organization’s agility & speed. The Facebook page for the event saw their likes plummet, with party people connecting directly with their friends that support the event and asking them to refuse to do so. There has been significant documentation of the founder’s views, which, in this day and age, are inappropriate, especially considering the so-called “inclusive” nature of the event.
Over the last week, this rapidly evolving story has included the creation of a Boycott page that quickly shot past 1500 likes, and as of yesterday, the venue has terminated their relationship with the festival. This is a stunning victory for the coalition & proof that a coordinated effort from even a small group of activists can make a huge impact. It’s also a reminder that certain values are totally unacceptable in the marketplace anymore, especially when attempting to attract festival attendees between the ages of 18 & 35. To stress, this took less than a calendar week to happen. I’m talking, discovery, organization & deployment, resulting in the festival losing their venue. The EVOLVEFEST page is pivoting & attempting to distance itself from the previous posts of the Founder & CEO, which have been documented extensively, so the damage is done.
To note, these aren’t statements he voiced in the past, and could recant based on “time.” The pictures linked are from last week & month and have not been doctored in anyway. We have to say, we’re filled with respect & gratitude to this team. They did amazing, complete & quick work, and one of our sources mentioned that they’re currently working with Eventbrite to get the ticketing for the festival pulled because this kind of behavior violates their TOS in a big way. This is the way to fight against bigotry, antisemitism & hate in the 21st Century. This team has done something special. Let that be a lesson to CEOs, promoters & producers: hate speech isn’t acceptable simply because one can throw a party, that’s an abuse of the platform and a detriment to the scene. That era is over. Time to act right.