The first ever Hoechella, a two-day music and community event aimed to increase awareness and peacefully protest against body shaming, rape culture and legislation regarding body autonomy, was held at New Brookland Tavern on Aug. 26 and 27.
Members of the Columbia community flocked to the event to meet people interested and invested in the issues Hoechella advocated. The event was free, although donations were accepted and donated to Girls Rock Charleston and Girls Rock Columbia. Hoechella sought to create a refreshing twist for those tired of the traditional live music scene.
Miracle Stivender, first-year broadcast journalism student at Midlands Tech, said that Hoechella provided for Columbia music-lovers "a different environment, other than the same thing over and over and over again. Different music, different people, different race, etc."
Singers and groups such as Glittoris, Debbie and the Skanks, She Returns from War, Del Sur and Paisley Marie were performing on New Brookland Tavern’s stage throughout the two-day event. A glitter booth was sponsored by Scenario Collective, in which attendees could have glitter sprinkled all over their hair and body free of charge. Shirts and buttons were available for purchase, and balloons in the shapes of male and female genitalia were scattered around the venue.
The event was praised for its transparent attitude toward sexuality, rape, body shaming and legislation regarding body autonomy.
“It really brings to light the situations that are happening that people don’t really think about," said Gibbes DeLoach, first-year physics student. "This brings to light all the problems that occur sexually and with people undermining others for their gender and all of that, and I think it’s very important that people can understand that this actually exists."
A few non-profits were in attendance, including WREN, or Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network. WREN helps advocate for the health rights and financial benefit of South Carolina families, women and girls.
“We’re here at Hoechella today because we feel like the event is very like-minded to our mission in that Hoechella is empowering women, and it's also empowering women by funding important programs like Girls Rock Columbia and Girls Rock Charleston,” said fourth-year public health student Megan Plassmeyer.
Although many women were present, representatives of all genders and sexualities were at Hoechella. Support for the issues Hoechella advocated came from countless individuals, regardless of age, sexuality or race.
“Women’s issues aren’t just women’s issues; they’re everyone’s issues," Plassmeyer said. "We can all take a role in improving our community and the lives of people around us."
Hoechella strives to expand USC students' awareness of the issues surrounding the community and larger worldview.
“As we’re moving forward as adults, we need to learn not only about what’s kind of in our small little community but the problems outside of our own little box,” Plassmeyer said.
Hoechella, the first of its kind in Columbia, is a development for the community and issues regarding sexuality, rape culture and body shaming.
“I think it means that we’re progressing, that we’re moving forward," Plassmeyer said. "Instead of thinking we’re not part of this issue and that we can’t be part of the solution. It's us stepping forward and saying that we're part of the solution, we can make a difference and we can fund programs that are making a difference in our community."