By Chris Bogard
We sent CQ Correspondent Chris Bogard to Palomino Pasadena to take photos of the queer performers. He did us one better with a write-up plus some additional photos of noted allies Kacey Musgraves and Sierra Ferrell. Enjoy the galleries, folks!
“Ain’t nobody gonna tell me who to love.”
Outlaw songstress Jaime Wyatt made a bold opening statement for the inaugural Palomino Pasadena Festival on the Lefty Stage. Harking back to her days as a felon while donning a baby blue suit, Jaime is as outlaw as it gets – she’s a close friend and recent collaborator with Shooter Jennings. She does not mince words, ending her set with the declaration, “In my story, love fucking wins!”
This christening was fitting: the brand-new alt-country festival boasted an refreshingly queer-friendly lineup. The several out-and-loud queers on the festival’s lineup included Jaime Wyatt, Amythyst Kiah, and Orville Peck, as well as vocal allies such as Sierra Ferrell and headliners Kacey Musgraves and Willie Nelson.
Amythyst Kiah’s afternoon set was met with an enthusiastic crowd at the Lefty Stage, and for good reason: this singer has some pipes! Amythyst’s stage presence was modest, almost as if she’s unaware of just how much she commands the crowd with her vocal prowess. We’ll surely see her climbing the billing in future festival lineups if she maintains the trajectory she’s on.
Hearing the crowd’s chatter and seeing the amount of fringe and rhinestones among the attendees, one may have gotten the impression that Orville Peck was the most highly-anticipated act of the festival’s single-day festivities. That impression wouldn’t have been wrong: Peck drew one of the largest crowds for his main stage set, and it’s not hard to see why. Peck is more than a performer, he’s a phenomenon. Seeing an Orville Peck performance is a spectacle teeming with theatrics and romance, something you’ll talk about long after – and then wrangle a friend or two to tag along for his next show.
After the summer sun finally set, Kacey Musgraves cranked up the heat for her opening number, “star-crossed”, with a larger-than-life flaming heart on stage. The stunts didn’t stop there. After her first song, Musgraves took a few minutes to talk to the crowd, ensuring everyone that her set was a safe space, and she wanted all to feel welcome. Being early July, she told her audience “I hope y’all had a good Pride Month!” which was answered with thunderous applause. Kacey’s set radiated a positive and joyous tone. Some highlights include her impromptu duet with Willie Nelson performing his classic “On the Road Again,” and a rainbow laser show for “There Is A Light” – complete with giant beach balls.
Though this was the first-ever Palomino Festival, it appeared to be a raving success – a commendable feat. There will likely be demand for a second edition next year, and hopefully when it comes around it will be just as queer as this one. Palomino Pasadena wasn’t so much a country music festival as it was a “y’allternative” country celebration – and as we know, y’all means all.
Chris Bogard is an artist and visual storyteller with a focus on queer subjects and themes, from drag queens to cowboys. Besides digital and film photography, Chris also enjoys leathercraft and live music.