On Sunday, San Francisco’s most infamous leather event, Folsom Street Fair, will welcome live performances by indie-pop artists Ladyhawke, Little Boots and the Limousines. Folsom is America’s most prominent outdoor celebration for leather fetishists and other kinky exhibitionists.
“I haven’t heard many stories from Folsom, but all my gay friends are really excited that I will be performing there,” Ladyhawke tells Rolling Stone. “Maybe I will wear leather pants.”
The Presets, Dragonette and Ladytron have hit the Folsom Street main stage in the past, but this year’s more high-profile lineup has garnered a very positive response from the leather community in San Francisco, according to Folsom Street Events executive director Demetri Moshoyannis. “All of our artists have a sexy vibe, a queer slant to them,” he tells Rolling Stone. “These aren’t artists you’d see at a gay pride festival.”
Folsom organizers are careful to invite artists who embrace the festival’s unconventional spirit and are appealing to Folsom’s 400,000 attendees, Moshoyannis says. “In some cases, our artists walk away with a newfound perspective on the LGBT community and about leathersex in general,” Moshoyannis explains.
Although Ladyhawke likely won’t be donning a leather harness or assless chaps (or singing a cover of Rihanna’s “S&M”), her edgy music and style still fit properly with Folsom’s alternative ambiance. “I tend to have an androgynous sense of style,” she says. “I consider Patti Smith to be a big inspiration.”
Entrance to the nonprofit Folsom Street Fair is donation-based. Last year, the festival raised $330,000 for local AIDS and LGBT-related charities in the San Francisco Bay Area.