Meet Bungalow Betty ahead of their Poorcastle performance
The bubblegum grunge band Bungalow Betty started as a way for friends Van Betty and Jordan Betty to play music together.
Van and Jordan, who both take on a stage name ending in “Betty”, are guitarists for the band. They’ve been good friends since 2011, and in 2015 Jordan began playing music more seriously. Van had been playing music from a young age.
“Some of my first fondest memories of Van and our friendship was when [she] bought [her] daisy bass and came over, and we're playing it in the apartment, and I just, I thought you were the coolest person I'd ever seen,” Jordan said.
And that was the beginning of Bungalow Betty.
“It's just an expression of our experiences, the weird things, weird silly things that happen, the stories that happen or how we feel about the things that happen,” Jordan said. “It's just trying to be real.”
Since its creation, some members have changed but Bungalow Betty’s basis of genuine connection has remained the same.
“I've known Bungalow Betty for several years, and kind of became friends with Jordan through my partner who Jordan has played with a lot,” bassist Betty Ann said. “I … just kind of hung around, went to a lot of shows, became more friends with Jordan, we started working on some art and stuff for the band.”
Eventually, Jordan asked Betty Ann if she wanted to play bass in the group, an instrument she, at the time, didn’t know how to play. But with some encouragement from the other Bettys, she took her guitar knowledge and translated it to the bass.
Drummer Syd Betty found the group while trying to find a way out of playing for cover bands. Jordan messaged them to come to check the Bettys’ last show of 2022.
“I was just like, man, they're like, super cool. So like, I was totally in and then we met up in December and just practiced and it's kind of been a thing ever since,” Syd said.
The closeness of the music scene of Louisville translates beyond how Bungalow Betty’s current members came together.
It’s what the group love about the Poorcastle itself: the collective and community-oriented nature of the festival.
Bungalow Betty, like the rest of the acts playing Poorcastle, is donating their time to play. The festival acts mainly as a way to raise funds for local youth-based music organizations.
The event describes itself as “a festival for the rest of us.”
“I think everyone deserves to hear music, experience live music, so to make that as accessible to as many people as possible is really important and part of the ethos of the whole thing,” Betty Ann said.
Van, who’s worked at other festivals, said the atmosphere at Poorcastle stands out by being so welcoming and the perfect place to get a feel for festivals.
“I would say Poorcastle is family-friendly,” Van said. “If you're gonna bring your kids to something… this may be a good one to start out.”
Having such a wide range of attendees means the performers get to showcase their talents to larger crowds than some other venues they book.
“I think that's a powerful thing about going to festivals, half of the fun of it is standing in a giant crowd of people,” Jordan said. “And like feeling your chest like a bump with the music, and it's just, it's just kind of awe-inspiring.”
That communal experience, between the audience and fellow performers, traces back to the beginning of Bungalow Betty and how they have evolved as a group over time.
Poorcastle Festival runs in Breslin Park May 19 through May 21.