Mental Noise: A Music Festival for QTPOC Mental Health Care
NQTTCN, Lugubrious Bri, Megan Matuzak, Mario Carbal, Zoloo Brown, Juliette Rando, Marcus Maddox, Lumaya, Bob Sweeney, Lorien Lamarr, Savan DePaul, Senna Ahmad, Michael Galarraga
Mimiko Watanabe, Charles Tyson, Joshua Resnick, vm2002, FomaA, elnariz, Carlos David, Quality Stock Arts, fudio
Video Art Direction: Brian Cassidy
Mental Noise is a one-day outdoor music festival benefitting the National Queer & Trans Therapists of Color Network (NQTTCN). This organization works to transform mental health for queer and trans people of color (QTPOC) by providing a searchable directory of queer & trans therapists of color in North America, a Mental Health Fund that supports QTPOC in accessing therapy, and a variety of other resources. Mental Noise features QTPOC musicians from the Philadelphia area, information on NQTTCN, and local therapists from their network. The main goals of the event are to raise funds for NQTTCN’s Mental Health Fund, and spread awareness about accessible therapy options for QTPOC in Philadelphia. Mental Noise takes place in West Philadelphia’s Clark Park, an outdoor, all-ages, and wheelchair-accessible venue.
This festival centers the intersecting experiences of people of color and queer & trans people; it also exists at the intersection of mental health and music. The name for this event needed to allude to the overlap between mental health care, self-expression through music, and the need for community care among QTPOC. Early name ideas used words referencing sound, color, emotion, thought, and healing. Ultimately, I chose “Mental Noise” because it references both mental health struggles, and the catharsis of processing emotions through music.
I wanted the festival’s design to feel vibrant, exciting, and dynamic, and I also knew that type and photography would be key elements of the brand. This approach included bright, neon colors, experimental type treatments, collage-like use of photography, and designs layering type, imagery, and hand-drawn lines. Because Mental Noise focuses on people with specific overlapping identities, compositions with overlapping and intersecting elements were key.
This project was an opportunity to combine my background as a musician with my knowledge of design, while promoting a cause I care deeply about. The advocacy of the National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network already has a profound impact on the lives of QTPOC in need of mental health care. By working on Mental Noise, I was able to imagine how collaboration with musicians and other creatives could help NQTTCN expand their reach even further. I chose to include real artists and therapists in this project, and using the photos and stories of actual people brought the festival to life in a way I could not have achieved with fictional personas. This made the project truly special to work on; thank you to everyone who participated.