Kimono My House pivots from virtual concerts to in-person music festival
Back in March of 2020, musicians worldwide were forced to cancel shows and put tours on hold to curb the fast spread of COVID-19. When faced with the prospect of months without live music, Atlanta musicians Andy Gish and Kim Ware channeled their performance void into a Facebook group devoted to virtual house concerts. The group, Kimono My House, has since swelled to almost 8,000 members, and next weekend they’ll hold their first-ever live, in-person music festival. “City Lights” senior producer Kim Drobes recently spoke with Gish and Ware, who shared their story of working to keep live music alive.
The humble, almost instinctive beginnings of Kimono My House:
“It started on March 13, 2020. And that was, I think, for a lot of us in Atlanta, the day that things began to shut down,” said Ware. “I was at home just hanging out on my porch, and I saw Andy had posted something, that she was looking to start something so Atlanta area musicians could stay connected because she had several shows that were canceled. And I just happened to have the time to give that some thought at that moment, so I was like, ‘Hey, why don’t we start like a Facebook group? And then we can perform for each other over Facebook live.’”
“Both of us performed there pretty quickly. We started inviting a few friends. They invited more friends, and it just really took off really quickly. And we were thinking… maybe 20 or 30 friends would be into [it]. And we also thought, maybe, a few weeks we’ll need to do this, but obviously, you see where we are now,” said Ware.
Musicians emerging from the shadows, encouraged by KMH:
“We did a festival for the East Atlanta Strut with several bands from Kimono My House, and that was kind of like a little tester for what this [festival] would be…. There were people who were meeting each other for the first time, and that’s always really interesting, because… we’ve made new friends, we’ve made new connections,” said Gish. “There’ve been new bands, or people who used to play, or playing again, or artists that are brand new, [who] are playing regular shows now. And that is amazing to me that all of that came out of this time when we’ve been so separated, and things have been so dark for many of us.”
“Sylvia On the Ukulele… has been in Atlanta for 20 years. She grew up on a banana farm in Hawaii, but she learned to play ukulele in the South, and so she sounds like a blues player. It’s a very nice fusion of music,” said Gish. “She had a ukulele and had played covers for many years but had never written anything of her own…. She says, ‘If it wasn’t for Kimono My House, I wouldn’t be a performer.’”
What’s with the name?
As far as the name… one of the core initial people that we invited, David Manpowsky, he just threw the name out there,” said Ware. “It looked neat. We liked how it kind of sounds like, ‘Come on over to my house.’”
The first-ever Kimono My House festival will occur across three venues in Atlanta from March 10-13. Waller’s Coffee, the Star Bar and 529 will feature artists like Adron, The Young Antiques, All Night Drug Prowling Wolves, The Preakness, Mudcat and many more. Festival information and tickets are available at http://kmhatl.com/festival. The original Kimono My House Facebook group can be found and followed here.