Queer House Party: The DJ Collective Centring Politics And Accessibility In Queer Club Nights
“It’s wild how we started in a really rundown, overpriced house-share in New Cross [south London] with a grotty kitchen and then, fast forward just over a year, we’re literally playing Wembley [Arena].” This is how Harry Gay, DJ and co-organiser of the collective Queer House Party (QHP), summarises the group’s journey over the past couple of years.
Harry, along with fellow DJs Nik (DJ passer) and Seren (Wacha), and hosts and dancers Taali Akosoa Kwaten and Liv Wynter, set up QHP during the first Covid-19 lockdown in 2020. Fast forward three years and they’ve run private gigs for corporate types halfway across the world, raised tens of thousands of pounds for grassroots community groups through live shows, gone on tour with the pop act Years & Years, performed at multiple festivals (including Latitude, Secret Garden Party and Sziget), and brought joy to the lives of queer people all over the globe.
Known for their eclectic playlists as well as their sense of community, radical politics and accessibility, Queer House Party started out as a fun way to financially support themselves and fellow LGBTQIA+ creatives who were excluded from government pandemic funding in the UK. When over a thousand people ‘attended’ their first livestream event, it was clear to the team they’d struck creative gold. “We started getting messages from people about how much it was helping them,” says Gay. “People were in lockdown with family members who didn’t know about their sexuality or gender identity, and it gave them a space where they could go and be themselves.”
Going on tour with Years & Years was one of the collective’s biggest highlights, not only because they got to play arenas, but because of the connections those stages helped forge with younger queer people. With a fanbase typically too young to attend a club night, the Years & Years tour allowed queer teens to experience a QHP performance they wouldn’t otherwise be able to attend. “We got the most special messages from people [saying], ‘I’ve just seen this, and I’m now going to come out to my mum.’ We had a lot of emotional moments,” says Akosoa Kwaten.
In August alone, QHP played at 17 live events – with little sleep in between. This autumn, they are resetting and planning their next move. “There are a lot of queer parties that just grow and they lose their roots,” explains Gay, “so it’s really important to us that we keep our core values, centre things [such as] accessibility, our politics, and remember where the party actually came from.”
Find Queer House Party on Instagram and Twitter
Molly Lipson is a freelance writer and organiser from the UK