Not even a week has passed since Porter Robinson shook his fan community with the announcement of his first-ever music festival, duly dubbed Multiverse. Now controversy strikes for the sad boy producer and his Goldenvoice-produced event, set to take place inside Oakland’s Middle Harbor Shoreline Park, June 15.
However, the name of the festival is not sitting well with local musicians Jade Ariana Fair and Shawna Shanté Scroggins, organizers of Multivrs is Illuminated. They aired their grievances in an open letter addressed to Robinson and Goldenvoice on Instagram (UPDATE: the post has since been removed). The basis for their claims is this: Oakland is already home to a volunteer-run, donation-based music festival called the Multivrs is Illuminated. The event debuted in 2017 as the Universe is Lit and changed its name the following year in 2018.
So why does this matter? And is it splitting hairs? Well, considering Fair and Scroggins’ event centers black and brown LGBTQ artists working in punk and experimental music, and features local and national underground artists, it does matter. These are historically marginalized women, attempting to give voice to historically marginalize groups. For a white male to come into their neighborhood and piggyback on their event’s name is, well, problematic. In their open letter, they lay claim to not only the name of the festival but also other pointed allegations like the festival being an “agent of gentrification.”
UPDATE: Sunday, March 10, 12:15 PM PST: Although many fans have voiced online how “stupid” or “ridiculous” the issue at hand has become, Robinson is completely empathetic with the women’s protest remarks. He announced via Facebook that he changed the name of Multiverse Festival to Second Sky Festival after becoming aware of the Multivrs is Illuminated.