Noise Pop turns the Bay Area into a festival

Beginning Feb. 22, the Bay will host the Noise Pop Festival, an annual indie music and film fest that brings an eclectic mix of musical artists. The event will include more than 90 shows and performances and take place over six days, featuring a wide array of artists across genres. 

Arooj Aftab, a New York-based Pakistani jazz singer, will perform a combination of South Asian poetry with contemporary jazz and R&B sounds at Gray Area on Mission Street. Aftab first appeared on the music scene in 2003, at the age of 18, with a cover of “Hallelujah” that went viral on Napster, a streaming service that’s been around since 2002. Aftab’s new song, “Mohabbat” seamlessly fuses a 100-year-old Urdu poem with gentle and uplifting jazz sounds. The song appeared on Barack Obama’s summer 2021 playlist and received two Grammy nominations.


Performing at The Warfield concert venue, the festival’s headliner is rapper and house musician Azealia Banks. For fans of indie rock and folk music, groups such as Hunny, Hand Habits, Tomberlin, and Papercuts will be performing. Noise Pop advertises that it brought “early exposure” to many emerging Bay Area artists in the past, focusing on acts that amplify popular genres as well as artists  that bring a new sound to the scene. 

More controversially, Kinfolk, an ultra-conservative country and hip hop artist who is best known for his song “Let’s Go Brandon,” will be at the New Parish in Oakland on Feb. 21. The phrase that gives Kinfolk’s most popular song its title became notorious with Trump supporters after a reporter misheard a crowd shouting “F— Joe Biden” at a NASCAR race. 

This year’s festival has several experimental acts, from EDM to heavy metal. Notable pioneers include Moor Mother, an Afrofuturistic singer who also dabbles in visual and performing arts, and VTSS, an EDM pop artist who pushes the boundaries of what can become music.

Several of the events are classified as parties, rather than concerts. For instance, DJ PartiBoi69 will be releasing the location of his “Secret Warehouse Party” on Feb. 26, the day of the event. The California Academy of Sciences will be hosting a “pre-party” with Kamaal Williams, a popular lofi artist. In addition, there will be kickoff parties at various local bars and nightclubs each night for attendees over the age of 21. 

For USF students, Rickshaw Stop on Fell Street will be the closest venue. The former TV studio turned event space, will host pop artists Ian Sweet on Feb.24 and Lastlings on Feb. 25. Students can purchase tickets to individual events or buy a badge that grants blanket access to any and all events. Noise Pop has also partnered with BART to help the festival attendees more easily use public transit to get from venue to venue. 


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