Black Market Fest Celebrates Sixth Anniversary With "Disco Inferno"

Against a backdrop of venue closures, political repression, and economic strife, South Florida's alternative community has been struggling, to say the least. That's why promoters like the Black Market, which has been running marketplace and live events in the area for more than half a decade, are so crucial.

Black Market Fest Celebrates Sixth Anniversary With
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Being a safe space is one of our main things," says Panther Cordts, who runs the event series. “It's a community space for people to be able to express themselves without prejudice.”

Any given Black Market event sees a plethora of wild outfits and lifestyles, from punk and metal kids to goths and emos, and even cosplayers and anime fans. The queer community is also a fixture. Cordts, who began the promo while working at the now-shuttered Churchill's Pub, estimates about 20 percent of his guests are LGBTQ. All sorts of people assemble to shop for vinyl, vintage fashion, arts and crafts, home decor, bath and body products, and other goods while watching talented local performers strut their stuff.

The Black Market is turning up the heat for its sixth anniversary. Taking place Saturday, June 17, at Revolution Live in Fort Lauderdale, Black Market Fest will feature local bands, DJs, and performers across two stages with the theme of "Disco Inferno." Funk-rockers Psychic Mirrors will headline the mainstage, with Donzii, Afrobeta, Salacia, House of Pris, SaturnSarii, DJ Rippin Kitten, and more on the undercard. A side stage will host drag and burlesque from Tito Bonito, Le Belle Michelle, Sin Silva, and other queens. It's going to be a night of glitz and glamor — and perhaps even debauchery — that promises to put even Studio 54 to shame.

Plenty of amenities will be available to put the "market" in Black Market. Food and drink stalls, a tarot reader, and a photo area will be on site along with more than 50 artisan and flea market vendors. Plus, a dance contest will offer 12 lucky contestants the chance to win a grand prize of $1,000. (All spots are full as of this writing.) All this for the low, low price of $20.

The Black Market's six years of survival weren't preordained, not least of all because of the pandemic. The party bounced around venues after leaving Churchill's Pub, landing at Las Rosas and later Base Camp (now Space Park) before finally landing at Revolution Live in Fort Lauderdale. Despite its distance from Miami, Cordts prefers the larger capacity and its more central location drawing folks from Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties.

I decided to go all in with the event and go bigger," says Cordts, who started running the Black Market full-time during the pandemic after other opportunities dried up. Getting his foot in the door at Revolution meant the show would go on.

“If it wasn’t for that I would’ve ended it,” he says. “It was either stop the event or find someplace big.”

Plans are also in the works to take the promo even bigger. Cordts already runs an anime-themed event, Yokai Night, at Revolution, and plans to move Void, the Black Market's indie-music showcase at Domicile, to Broward as well. He'll also run a Black Market event in Gainesville this year and is hoping to hit Atlanta and Brooklyn as well. Considering the dire lack of venues left serving the alternative community in Miami, expanding is imperative — especially as the summer slow season dawns.

"Summer slows down a lot," he says. “It’s the time because there’s nothing happening down here.”