The Jukumari Clinic hosted the second annual Oktoberfest at Strange Matter and house show venues featuring local and out-of-state underground hip-hop artists on Oct. 19 and 20.
The Jukumari Clinic is a local DIY organization run by Tico Noise and Eduardo Colmenares that curates and hosts DIY events for local artists in Richmond.
“Honestly we did this to build a community,” Noise said. “I think a lot of time people forget how important that is to artists.”
The two-day event opened at venue, restaurant and bar Strange Matter with the second day hosted at a DIY venue space.
“There’s so much energy,” said attendee Rami Dahman. “Just walking in the door I wanted to jump. It’s knee bobbin’, it’s head bobbin’.”
Oktoberfest featured performances from more than a dozen artists from Richmond and as far away as Texas and Queens, New York. Colmenares said he and Noise started reaching out to artists three months ago, to give artists from other states time to make travel arrangements.
“After a year of doing these shows, it was time to do it a little more official,” Colmenares said. “I just believe in the collectives putting in work here.”
Colmenares said Richmond could be the next popping city, and artists wouldn’t have to resettle in a place like New York or L.A. to mature as artists.
“Local hip-hop isn’t as established in Richmond as punk and hardcore scenes,” Colmenares said. “There’s this mentality that you have to leave the city and get your stones first, then you can come back and get local love. We want to change that.”
Colmenares said there are artists who’ve always wanted to meet and grow from each other but they’ve never had the occasion. He said he organizes shows like Oktoberfest to bring people together so there’s no tearing each other down over the internet.
“No one is as unapproachable as you think they are,” Noise said. “It’s about building relationships.”
Performing artists THRVD (Theravada) and RB CHMBRS (Rob Chambers) traveled from Queens, New York to play Oktoberfest.
THRVD said the Jukumari Clinic is demonstrating a good template for community building that any groups who come after can follow.
“I feel like at least being in New York most of the shows I’m familiar with garner attention from internet presence,” THRVD said. “Around here there’s a more tangible tense of what’s going on.”
CHMBRS said Richmond is like most cities facing gentrification ― it’s getting smoother and becoming fueled off iced coffee ― and that has positives and negatives. For example, he said the River City brings intrigue, tourists and families to the city, but makes it hard to operate locally as an artist.
“(Richmond) is healthier than most cities,” RB CHMBRS said. “I know people would be surprised to hear it, but they’re doing well.”
Jesse is a junior print journalism major and Arabic and Middle Eastern culture minor. He has walked in the valley with no water and bitten the heads off of snakes.