The neighborhood of East Kessler Park in Oak Cliff celebrated music on Sunday, inviting the public to enjoy performances at their homes – a tradition that started when COVID social distancing was the norm.
“I just got the feeling that everyone was getting depressed and a little desperate and that live music was something we really missed doing together, like group therapy almost,” Floramay Holliday said in an interview with Advocate Oak Cliff.
Now in its fourth year, the Spring Music Safari featured 14 musical acts at 10 houses, most of which were the homes of the musicians. Each destination was marked with an animal – such as flamingos, giraffes, dragons and unicorns.
Photographer Kathy Tran is a new addition to the neighborhood, and has been working diligently with her fiancé (Daniel Rockey) and business partners to use their new East Kessler Park home to invigorate the community through a shared vision of collaboration.
“When I moved into the neighborhood 6 months ago, I was excited to make new friends within the community and learn about the events that brought people together,” Tran said. “When we discovered the music safari it confirmed this was truly the perfect home and place. My team and I worked quickly to get involved.”
Kessler Studio (the name of their home) brought in a new crowd to the annual event, showcasing 3 local acts that drew music lovers from beyond the East Kessler Neighborhood.
“Throughout the year, I enjoy meeting new people and keeping connections in mind for future collaborations,” Tran said. “The artists that joined us for the event were individuals that we had met in the past. The first band, Leo Sun Project, rented Kessler Studio to record their Tiny Desk submission. Los Beckleys, another band that played is named after a street in Oak Cliff and truly represents the neighborhood. Lastly, Cure for Paranoia has been a friend of mine for years, and I’ve collaborated with their lead singer Cam in the past.”
The communal nature of the Spring Music Safari was the most striking aspect of the event, as attendees and neighbors walked from house to house, often with children or dogs in tow.
Some homes had free refreshments, some had pop-up vendors like You’re My Jam – a homemade jam small business started by a grade schooler named Charlie B. that features inventive flavors such as Blueberry Lime, Black Pepper Plum and Cherry Habanero.
As you witnessed the simple joys the event brought to the community, it was easy to see why the neighborhood embraced the concept after the COVID epidemic passed.
“As soon as Daniel and I heard about [the Music Safari], we were eager to be a part of it and contribute in any way possible,” Tran said. “This event helped me realize that I am not only fortunate to live in this wonderful neighborhood, but also in the best section of Kessler Park full of neighbors who share a love for art, music, and community, which was truly inspiring. We are in the right place.”
There was a sense of awe in the crowd that was palpable during the event, as Kessler Studio continues to contribute to experiences that are unique and supportive of the area.
“I had no idea this neighborhood was so cool,” event attendee Desirée Bishop said in front of Kessler Studio. “This place is really happening. Maybe I’ll move here too!”
When it comes to future endeavors for the studio, Tran said, “Besides curated wellness events such as soundbaths and yoga, Kessler Studio has a new event experience that Daniel and I are cooking up called ‘Creative Admirers.’ To give you a background; my fiancé Daniel is obsessed with fixing and collecting typewriters and writes me daily love letters. We wanted to create a networking event that is fun and allows you to show appreciation and support for a randomly assigned guest by typing them an encouraging letter anonymously.”
As for the Music Safari, keep an eye out for the Fall edition (TBA) and the return of the the Spring safari next year in May. Supported by the East Kessler Park Neighborhood Association.
Jessica Waffles is a freelance photographer/videographer and regular contributor to KXT.
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