Culture Shock 2020 was one of many music festivals affected by the coronavirus pandemic, but it didn’t stop local creator and founder of Culture Shock, Chachi Carvalho.
The past two years, the Pawtucket-based Culture Shock music fest filled the streets with diverse creativity and artistry, music and celebration. This year, Carvalho expects to give fans the same feeling, but the fest will be virtual. Performances will be live recorded sessions with acts such as Flawless Real Talk, Nova One, Joe Bruce, Temperamento, Brooxana, Jabubu, Kelce, Shokanti and Storm Ford. Culture Shock also will include interviews with the artists. Culture Shock has a wide selection of artists and genres every year, and this year it is expected to include an eclectic mix of sounds from Latin hip-hop to rap to ’60s vintage rock to singer-songwriter to silky soul and R&B.
“I couldn’t allow this global pandemic to stop me from providing an invaluable resource to folks at this time, and that is an opportunity to feel some level of connectedness,” said Carvalho. “I feel like Culture Shock is an opportunity for artists to have a platform to perform when they haven’t had an opportunity to hit a stage throughout this whole time.”
Roz Raskin of Nova One said this Culture Shock performance was the first time they had loaded their equipment into a performance space to play for anyone in such a long time. They mentioned everyone was super kind, helpful and communicative, and followed COVID guidelines, which made them feel very taken care of.
“In this intense moment we are all living in, it’s still so important to feel the connection to the communities you were present in before COVID,” said Raskin.
Carvalho alludes to his ambition, and said he wanted to challenge himself and the team to pull together a high level production with the hopes that it will generate some attention and funds to level up for next year (whether it’s virtual again or in person). For this year, Carvalho teamed up with HAUS, a Rhode Island-based content creating studio, and Massachusetts-based recording company, Railroad Park, to create a mashup of various and divergent artists as a film experience. Other sponsors and local supporters include Citizens Bank, Beatbox Studio and the Pawtucket Arts Fest.
“I can’t help but think that this festival and this message is exactly what we need right now,” said Kyle Therrien, President of Railroad Park Recording Co.
HAUS Content Creator Austin Delin said Carvalho approached them with the idea of a virtual Culture Shock 2020, aware of the challenges of live-streaming multicam performances over an internet connection as well as the precautions needed given the pandemic. Delin said they were able to film each artist’s performance individually, air out the space and sanitize the equipment between each session. The sessions were then edited and compiled into a film that will be released on December 21.
“Not only was this an opportunity for us to strive for a level of quality that is seldom seen in virtual events or livestreams, but it was a way for us to give back to our local community here in Rhode Island,” said Delin. “There’s too much talent here for us to be overlooked, and that’s what we’re hoping to change.”
Culture Shock is going onto its third year, and now that the festival has turned virtual for the pandemic, it provides a different opportunity to gain more followers for upcoming years. Carvalho said past events were lively and exciting, but had a smaller turnout than gatherings like PVDFest. He said Culture Shock going virtual opens up infinite possibilities given the number of people that can see it.
“I believe this event being virtual is just a perfect way to end 2020. So many talented artists from different backgrounds coming together is the type of message the world needs right now,” said Latin hip-hop artist Temperamento.
“I felt free and able to just get lost in my music. I don’t normally feel that because of nerves, but for this performance, it felt freeing,” said R&B soul singer Brooxana. “The name ‘Culture Shock’ says it all. It’s going to continue to wake the inspirations and passions of all kinds of artists as it did for me through this experience.”
Culture Shock will be streaming at 7pm on Monday, December 21. For details, go to cultureshock401.com/ or follow @cultureshock401 on Instagram and YouTube channel, Culture Shock 401, where you can see the film trailer. To make a donation, visit their gofundme page.