Treefort 2023 Profile: London’s Big Joanie

Big Joanie is bigger than you think. The grrreat feminist post-punk act actually consists of three members — not just one. Rolling Stone included the Kill Rock Stars group’s Back Home album on its list of 2022’s top albums. And, if you need further convincing, they’ve opened for Sleater-Kinney, St. Vincent and Bikini Kill.

With Big Joanie’s momentum building, blame yourself later if you decide to miss their only performance at this year’s Treefort Music Fest. Happening Wednesday, March 22, at the Hideout at 6:20 p.m., the gig is also part of their first-ever U.S. tour.

As part of our series profiling Treefort participants from abroad, The Bad Penny recently caught up with all three members of Big Joanie: singer and guitarist Stephanie Phillips, bassist and backing vocalist Estella Adeyeri, and drummer and backing vocalist Chardine Taylor-Stone. Our exchange appears below.

[Go here for a primer on this series of Treefort Music Fest previews. Check back for new profiles of international artists playing the festival every day leading up to the fest’s kickoff on Wednesday, March 22.]

Artist: Big Joanie
From: London
Genre: Black feminist post-punk
Treefort info: Playing Wednesday, March 22, at the Hideout at 6:20 p.m.

Why did you decide to play Treefort Fest this year?

BIG JOANIE: This is our first time touring the U.S., so we were excited to play new places we’ve never been before. Coming to Treefort in Idaho seemed like a great way to play to a new audience and see more of the country.

What excites you the most about participating in it?

BIG JOANIE: We’re excited to play with other bands and hopefully see Dinosaur Jr. too.

Did you face any challenges or headaches in securing a visa to come here?

BIG JOANIE: Yes. It’s pretty hard getting into America. [It] costs so much money, sadly, and is pretty complicated. Luckily, we’re working on securing visas so we can come over and properly tour for the first time.

What expectations do you have for your experience here and at Treefort?

BIG JOANIE: We’re just hoping to play a great show, spread the Big Joanie message and see as much of Treefort as we can.

“Black feminist sistah punk fun.”
-Big Joanie, describing their project

What other artists on the Treefort lineup are you excited to see? Are you friends with any of them?

BIG JOANIE: I’m definitely looking forward to seeing Dinosaur Jr., Yaya Bey, Margo Price and Nnamdi.

What do you enjoy most about performing at music festivals in general?

BIG JOANIE: It’s great to play festivals, as you get to perform in front of a different audience of people who probably don’t know you. It’s also a great way to see amazing bands that you might otherwise not have the money or time to see.

What can Treefort attendees expect from your performance?

BIG JOANIE: Hmm, it’s hard to encapsulate, but Black feminist sistah punk fun. Good vibes only!

For more coverage of international artists playing Treefort, check out our recent conversations with:

• Germany’s Sea Moya
• Swaziland’s Dusty & Stones
• New Brunswick’s Motherhood
• Toronto’s Debby Friday
• Mexico City’s Son Rompe Pera
• Ireland’s Modernlove
• Montréal’s Thanya Iyer
• Mexico City’s Petite Amie
• Vancouver’s Mauvey
• Italy’s Dumbo Gets Mad
• Brazil’s BIKE
• Chile’s Sistemas Inestables
• British Columbia’s Mother Sun
• Norway’s Orions Belte
• Treefort Co-Founder and Festival Director Eric Gilbert

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