The Burning Fleshtival: A Noise Fest With A “Longstanding Tradition Of Germ Transmission”


This weekend, Far Rockaway collective Red Light District will host the experimental/noise fest Burning Fleshtival in their home. The fest, now in its fourth year, will have more than 20 live performances, sets from eight DJs, and a few “special surprises.”

Among these acts, on Friday, Shams (Jonathan Coward, also of Adult Moan) takes the stage, followed by Oakland’s Buddy Bag and Baltimore abstractionist Twig Harper. Sci-fi noise act Hollow Bush will conclude day one. On Saturday, Richmond, Virginia Gameboy freak-noise act Narwhalz will perform followed by Tampa’s Craow. Baltimore’s Max Eisenberg, better known as DJ Dog Dick, will close out the fest.

Unless you’re really good at the Internet, information on Burning Fleshtival is nearly impossible to come by. To help, I asked one of the event’s coordinators, Frank Ludovico—a resident of Red Light District and member of the band Yellow Tears—to unravel some of the mystery.

Burning Fleshtival is in its fourth year. How did it begin? How has it grown since its inception?

It started with the Big Bang. And then Woodstock. And then Woodstock ’99. And then Warped Tour. And then No Fun Fest. And then Burning Fleshtival! It grew from BYOB to having to buy thousands of beers. Also, we now have an industrial fan to cool the basement.

When Fleshtival this year was first announced, there were a few “special events” listed. What are these? What, other than live performances, can attendees expect?

The special events will be an amusement park ride built and powered by Yellow Tears, a screening of a new video by Carlos Gonzalez titled “True Events,” a Public Ranking hosted by Esra Padgett, Melrose Masterpiece Theatre, and Spin the Bottle.

Who books Burning Fleshtival? How are the acts selected?

All the people who live at the Red Light District book the Burning Fleshtival. We discuss which acts we think would be appropriate. We basically just pick bands that we all want to see.

What, in your own words, is the Red Light District? Who lives there and how long have you/they been putting on shows?

The Red Light District is our house located in Far Rockaway. The people who live at the RLD are Jenny Nissan, Broccoli Head, Muquoid Plaque, Marg Garg, John Mannion, Yanni II, Mack Bombay, Stains, Raab Sorbet, Tom Raper, and our cat Freddy.

What is attendance at Burning Fleshtival like? Last time I was at Red Light District it seemed like everyone there were close to one another—a close-knit community.

Everyone gets to know each other at Burning Fleshtival. There’s a longstanding tradition of germ transmission in the basement. You’ll get to know strangers on a molecular level.

Is there anything else you’d like people to know about Burning Fleshtival/Red Light District?

Stay tuned for Frozen Testicle and Thawing Freshtivale!

Burning Fleshtival, with Yellow Tears, Teeny Bopper, Goldeater, and a slew of other bands, takes place Friday July 27 and Saturday July 28 at the Red Light District in Far Rockaway.