|With the excitement for this year’s Charivari Festival building, we caught up with one of the founders Todd Johnson! Read up!! (photo by Brent Scudder)
What set the Charivari parties of the past apart from other parties being given at that time?
What set the original high school social club Charivari of the 80s apart from others of the time was the level of rambunctious fun the crew set out to achieve. There was no standing around. Everyone danced. Everyone engaged. What Charivari Detroit is attempting to do is bring back that style of pure fun! Hence the catchphrase, “let yourself go!”
How competitive were the parties back then? Parties back than and now have always been competitive. The crowd wins when there is friendly competition. Everyone steps up his or her game. The difference now is competition has been replaced with shadiness, pretention and malicious intent. Many speak of community and the love of the music while doing just the opposite in their actions. The so-called community would be much healthier nurtured in many hands. It is time for the scene to evolve so it can grow. It is time for new stories and others given new shine. It is time for those who deal in the negative to yield the floor to those with passion. It is time to expose the emerging talent and fresh faces. If you see the pattern, these are the very themes and mission of Charivari Detroit.
When and how did you come to the decision to make this a full on festival? Charivari Detroit became a full on festival with conversation with Steve Dunbar (RIP), Theresa Hill, Hassan Nurullah and Grant Gray. All separately had been part of many types of events and saw a festival as a great transition to achieve the bigger picture.
What should we expect at this year’s festival? We are bringing back many of the festival fan favorites • Delano Smith, Terrence Parker, DJ Minx, Stacey Hale, Tony Dennis, Al Ester, Thomas Barnett, Bruce Bailey, Larsin, DJSwin and Gary Chandler to name a few. And in keeping with our theme of “fresh” we are showcasing some Charivari first timers like Lorenzo Dewberry, Tony Nova, Sleezy Hamilton, Mr. Drew, William Paul, Deon Jamar, my daughter SillyGirlCarmen and more. There will be special curated stages from Detroit Techno Militia (DJ Psycho, Shawn Rudiman (live) Tom Linder and an all techno set from Steve Crawford), Tec-Troit (DJ Roach) and Moses Malone) and the Sauce Record family.
With all your years of experience putting on parties & events, do you still face the same challenges just on a larger scale? Do you think people understand the risks you take? The challenges remain the same regardless the time period or event type. Finances, weather, customer attention and retention, marketing penetration and a hundred other factors remain the same at every level. Your financial exposure, marketing plan of action and manpower needs definitely expand with scale. The general public doesn’t understand the risks nor should they have to care. The public understands their desire to have a good time. It is our job, if you consider yourself a professional, to manage our risks.