With the sheer amount of free time provided by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the tough conversations surrounding race in America as illuminated by George Floyd’s murder, Amanda Gonulsen of Quiet Moon knew she needed to meet the moment head-on. With a large backyard and the ambition of supporting black artists in the community, as well as raising money for impactful organizations, Gonulsen partnered up with Lady Cactus Media — Kenzi Everitt (booking), Payden Widner (video/audio), and Jason Barteck — to launch the Equinox Sessions. The idea was simple — capturing the acoustic sessions shot in Gonulsen’s backyard and use them as a driver for donations to an organization of the artist’s choosing for a three week run of performances beginning September 22, the Fall Equinox.
“I was wandering around in my yard because it’s kind of my pandemic oasis and I was using it for sanity and joy just like everybody else,” Gonulsen recalled. “I knew I really wanted to continue to give for the greater good since I had been giving since early COVID and all that. I knew that we had such a rich music community and I wanted to do something to honor Black artists and to do something to raise money, and I knew I wanted all of us to say yes to whoever raising money for.”
Pegging local favorites, Kayla Marque, Kid Astronaut and Nina De Freitas to support the Black Actors Guild, Denver Food Rescue and the National Bailout Collective respectively, as well as support from Potager, Lady Justice Brewing, and Wildmoon Macarons the Equinox Sessions quickly went from supporting the community to being representative of the community coming together to create. Speaking on the collaboration, Gonulsen remarked:
“You feel very isolated and also with all the injustice going on, I think everybody’s tummy hurts cause they’re like, ‘how can I do something? What can I do?’ So, that’s part of the inspiration for it as well as we wanted to find some way to let folks join and be a part of something. We brought in a lot of friends and it answers specifically to how we’re dealing with [COVID-19] because we were trying to create as much interconnectivity as possible.”
Both Lady Cactus Media and Quiet Moon had been ardent supporters of the community long before the circumstances brought them together again. With Lady Cactus’ goal of building community through content and Quiet Moon as an event-based collective bringing people together in authentic ways, it was a natural fit for them to lean on each other for the Equinox Sessions. While it is uncertain if it’ll be a long-running collaboration, what they have put together however is a gorgeous ode to the community in a time we need it most.
Nina de Freitas starts off the series, today, September 22 and will be followed by Kid Astronaut (September 29) before concluding with Kayla Marque on October 6. Donation links for the upcoming sessions can be found here.