With a little less than a month to go until the start of the inaugural YallaPunk, the three-day festival in Philly dedicated to showing off the creative side of Arab, Persian and MENA folks, founder Rana Fayez wants to update you on a few things.
First, tickets are now on sale, with limited early bird tickets going for $35 and prices going all the way up to $200 for the “ultimate YallaPunk experience.”
Second, if you were looking to help out or get involved in any way, there are a few ways to do that: Reach out to Fayez via email@example.com to become a volunteer helper for the various shows and discussions (right now she’s specifically looking for a backline), apply to become a MENA vendor for $25 or just help out with funding the whole effort.
That last one is particularly important for Fayez because while she’s been busy finding sponsorships and applying for grants (she just sent out an application for the Leeway Foundation’s Art and Change Grant), there is a risk of not being able to host a few panels and discussions if they don’t accrue sufficient funds. But don’t worry — at this point, Fayez said the festival is set for Sept. 1.
And with YallaPunk recently being accepted into CultureWorks Greater Philadelphia (thanks to a suggestion from Leeway’s program director Sara Zia Ebrahimi), where Fayez said she’s “never felt more at home in a coworking space” with its focus on collaboration and providing resources, Fayez hopes to gain CultureTrust’s fiscal sponsorship.
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— YallaPunk (@YallaPunk) July 31, 2017
“We’re not just going to be an event — we’re trying to become our own entity and organization focused on social impact,” she said.
Lastly, Fayez wants to make sure people know that one, people of non-MENA descent are invited to attend and enjoy the festival (only performers were required to have a MENA background), and two, this event isn’t trying to be “Arab-centric, just because I’m Arab,” she said.
She points to Portland-based co-organizer Layla Farahbakhsh as someone who embodies the different cultural and experiential background that YallaPunk is aimed at.
Farahbakhsh, who’s been key in helping with budgeting and logistics since becoming “internet friends” with Fayez in April, wanted to be a part of something that would create spaces for someone like her who grew up with “multiple identities,” having a mother from Cuba and a father from Iran, as well as being a queer woman.
“YallaPunk, for me, is a way of creating and celebrating, bringing a lot of joy and celebration into who we are,” Farahbakhsh said.