May 23rd, 2023 7pm Stage 1
Kristen Ford is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, third-generation troublemaker, and bridger of the gap between worlds. She was raised by a white mother, and a black father, a lifelong singer. At age 14 Ford picked up an acoustic guitar and started writing songs, followed by attending a rock n roll camp for girls, led by musical icon June Millington. Coming out at age 18, navigating life as a biracial, queer girl was made all the more interesting by yearly moves (not an army brat, but a higher education brat) where Ford had lived in 6 states by age 18. Following in her grandmother's lead, who played the organ professionally since the age of 13 (the one-man band of the 1940s), Ford uses her hands, feet, and mouth to layer vocals, affected guitar, and beatboxing into a lush and energetic live looping show. With 1500+ performances across 48 states and 8 countries at festivals, colleges, clubs, cafes, and dives, music is Ford's true love, with 5 full-length records to date, including her latest and first on vinyl, "War in the Living Room". Off the road, Ford has worked jobs diverse as vegan hot dog factory, wyoming wrangler, boston sound tech, TV show extra, mascot/clown assistant, plus every restaurant position imaginable. Ford's Every(wo)man aesthetic, combined with unflinching honesty, vocals growling like a V8 engine, and virtuosic guitar skills (endorsed by Gallagher Guitars, K&K pickups, G7th Capos) have placed Kristen Ford on the verge of greatness. “Amazing, she was great; Kristen Ford” -Ani DiFranco, Billboard podcast
“Bern Strong” is Bernadette Malavarca, leader of NJ indie group Bern & the Brights. In her solo efforts, Bern returns to her roots of voice and guitar, weaving together genres from new wave to blues, and introspective lyricism. She just released a debut EP called Original Sin (April 2023).