Written by Angel Park
Photos supplied by Solar Sound
Solar Sounds is a Philadelphia-based events community for all identities joined through music and art. The organization was started a year ago in 2021 by co-founders Riva, Bianca, and Sara to create a safe space for local artists to express themselves freely without fear of judgment. It has provided an outlet for people from all walks of life to come together and enjoy unique, curated events with a collective of artists committed to their craft and each other. Our crew at ThatMag had the unique opportunity to speak with their founding staff about Solar Sound’s origins, thoughts on the Philadelphia music scene, and goals for the future of the collective.
For Bianca, Riva, and Sara, the inspiration behind starting Solar Sounds boiled down to a love of electronic music and events.
“Solar Sounds was something that started between me, Riva, and Sarah,” Bianca explained, “So about a year ago, we all moved to Philly, and we started dipping our toes into the local events and music scene here. We’ve always liked hosting and attending EDM events and electronic music. We have always wanted to create our own space to enjoy this music in a more inclusive and safe way for people of all identities. That’s how we decided to start our event production organization. We wanted to curate that space for not just ourselves, but everybody in our community.”
However, the process of creating Solar Sounds did not come without its challenges, especially after a global pandemic that had put live events at a standstill for over a year.
“I think everyone had all that time in quarantine to think about the things they’re passionate about that they want to focus on,” Bianca said, “In a way, we fell into that boat. Sarah, on our team, is a little older than us, so she’s been doing anything from artist relations and event production with local and regional events and festivals for at least ten years. She dreamed of putting in the work towards something like Solar Sounds and had been envisioning it for a while.”
For the trio, creating a successful event collective meant they needed to hone down on a unique kind of experience they wanted to make for the community.
“We were somewhat familiar with the scene here in Philly, but it’s different once you’re living in the city,” She explained. “It came down to understanding the ins and outs of the scene here and honoring the folks who have created the path for the last 10-20 years in dance music and want to make sure that we can still support them while still being intentional with our own goals with Solar Sounds. There’s so much beauty in the world of music and art. Connecting those two and finding out the best way to do that and uplifting as many as possible as a mission statement is great, but in execution, we try to be as intentional as we can.”
What is the typical event for Solar Sounds to put on? It combines local talent, intentional themes/designs, and a great time with friends.
“We have a large network of folks in the northeast region and beyond, so for each event, we always try to layer in regional talent that meshes well with the theme.” Bianca stated, “We try to balance thematically what makes sense between the core design and space while still trying to make the environment inclusive and acceptable to as many people as possible. And the crowd at our events is honestly like a big group of friends –even when we’re busy running the event, we’re always running into people and stopping by to say hi and have a conversation. It’s nice to see all types of people in a good, healthy space to just dance and have fun!”
Added to their events rotation is their exclusive charity “Supernova” series, curated with proceeds going directly to local organizations around Philadelphia.
“Right now, we have a particular events series called “Supernova” that is a charity series from top to bottom,” Sara explains, “So all folks who participate in that are donating their time and talent to have a “party with a cause” essentially. In doing so, we’ve had some unforgettable nights with folks coming together while donating to local organizations across the city, like Women Against Abuse and others. Supporting one another from the talent sense is very important, but supporting the community around us and recognizing the community around us is grounding for how we can help and make an impact.”
Regarding what’s next for their collective, the team is looking on the road ahead to the annual Elements Music and Arts Festival, a four-day event held annually in Long Pond, PA.
“As far as what’s next for us right now, we’re going all in on the stage partnership with Elements Festival. We’re official stage partners with Elements, so we’re creating a Renegade Stage with our crew in Pittsburgh to perform on a custom-built-up stage we’re creating as part of the group camp. Leading up to that, Bianca and Riva will be throwing a series of “Road to Elements” events in Pittsburgh, and we’re all three going to set up and do the decor leading up to that. From there, we’re headed straight to the festival!”
It has been and still is a busy summer for Solar Sounds so far, and we’re looking forward to seeing what’s next for this unique collective.
Check out more from Solar Sounds and their events below: