Defrost dance fest will have you moving into spring
By Cory Schachtel | April 6, 2023
When most people think outdoor music fest, they think summer. But we live in a winter city, and most people like live music all year round (dancing is a good way to stay warm). Organizing a fest in any weather is a tough task, but it turns out winter might not be the worst.
“It’s almost easier to do it when it’s February, because you can just pack the snow down and there’s no concern about ruining people’s footwear and destroying the grass,” says Sahib Quraishi, event organizer for Downtown Defrost. He attended the first defrosting as a volunteer/fan in 2015, and now runs the whole thing with his company Night Vision. After years of different weekends and locations, and doing an online version of the event early in the pandemic, Quraishi says the non-profit has started to hit its stride. “We’ve been hosting shows for years and this event is so tricky, but we’ve learned so much from people that we’ve worked with in the past. There’s still lots to learn, but we’ve grown a lot, and we’re ready to put on a great show.”
The show will feature seven international and 20 local dance musicians over two days starting this Friday at Louise McKinney Park. So far, the weather is looking good, so your footwear should be spared, but there are also the afterparty shows at Starlite Room which will put you on solid footing regardless.
A two-day dance fest with afterparties sounds like a great way to thaw out and welcome spring, and you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s for a younger, more intense crowd. But the daytime shows start at 2 p.m. and all ages are welcome. “The whole [park] area is licensed, but you can come with your kids. It doesn’t have a candy rave vibe — usually parents will come with their kids from like 2 p.m. and we’ve never had any problems with it. The kids usually have so much fun and it’s nice for people who have kids to come hang out together for a bit. There’s no age limit on enjoying music. And then the afterparties, which are adult only, happen at night at the Starlite Room, which is super exciting because we haven’t done a show there in a few years.”
Which is your go-to Christmas movie?
12%Miracle on 34th Street
24%A Nightmare Before Christmas
0%Jingle All the Way
So all these years later, can Quraishi once again enjoy it as a fan? “No, not really,” he laughs. “There’s always something happening and you’re kind of working the whole time, right? Usually by the Saturday afterparty, I kind of relax a bit. It’ll be crazy busy for me and our crew, but as long as people are having a good time, I’m happy.”