Great Wight | photo by Nikki Austin | via

After a successful inaugural year, Philadelphia’s Break Free Fest returns to The Rotunda this weekend for two days, bringing POC and other marginalized voices in the punk scene together and to the front. All week long leading up to the event, we’re highlighting some of the performers on the bill.

Great Wight / New York City, New York

Great Wight is a super catchy emo-influenced band from New York City. Despite being around for just over seven months at this point, they’ve managed to put out an album and tour extensively. In June they are heading to England for a short run of shows. We spoke with lead singer and guitar player Erik Garlington.

1) Who is in the band, how long have you been around for, and how would you describe what you’re doing to someone who might not be familiar?

Great Wight is me (Erik), Natasha, and Eli. I sing & play guitar, Natasha plays bass, and Eli plays drums. We’ve been a band for seven or eight months now. Our whole thing is diversifying the emo/punk scene which tend to be heavily dominated by straight white men. We want POC, LGBTQIA+ people, and anybody ever considered an ‘other’ or ‘outsider,’ to know that they aren’t alone. We want to write songs for the people that don’t normally have a voice or representation.

2) What are you most excited about when it comes to Break Free Fest?

We’re most excited to not be the token black opener that a lot of people assume when they see anybody non white/male playing a show. I never knew something like this existed so it’s a really gratifying feeling to be a part of something like this.

3) Talk to me about your local scene/community and some bands or anything else going on that you want to rep:

I’m ecstatic to see POC taking punk back after decades of being treated like we had nothing to do with it’s creation. I know that’s not specific to my scene but it’s great to see in New York after a life time in the bible belt.

Break Free Fest takes place April 26th and 27th at The Rotunda at 40th and Walnut in West Philadelphia; single-day tickets and all-weekend passes to the all-ages event are available here.