Witches Brew LA brings Les Carnaval de La Lune to the Heritage Square Museum in Los Angeles on June 12. Put on your cosplay best, a themed face covering and get ready for a night of fun.
Witches Brew LA began in 2019 and has been providing spooky fun ever since. We chatted with its creator, Jacqueline Dannielle, about Witches Brew LA and what to expect at the Carnaval:
Halloween Every Night:How did Witches Brew LA evolve?
Jacqueline Dannielle:Witches Brew is a mix of all of the beautiful interests that reside within our minds, witchcraft, brews, the Victorian era, horror, etc. It was a way for us to build a community for our friends and spirit workers to share their craft with the world. We started out with a small pop-up in 2019 at Boomtown Brewery and since then we’ve put on a number of pop-ups and haunt experiences across Southern California. We linked up with Zachariah the Witch back in 2019 for our first The Raven Societea tea party event, and have been inseparable ever since. Zachariah is a staple of any Witches Brew immersive event and we are so fortunate to have been able to work with him on a number of online and in-person events over the last two years.
HEN: What inspired you to start Witches Brew LA?
JD: My inspiration came from my own interests really. I loved the idea of a pop-up where you can hang out with your friends, meet like-minded folks, get a reading or spellwork, have a brew and enjoy a spooky atmosphere 365. My favorite part of any event is watching the ambience transform as soon as our guests walk into an event.
HEN: Is this the first-ever Les Carnaval de La Lune event?
JD: This is our very first Les Carnaval de La Lune event, and we are so excited to bring it to life. At the time when we held our first The Raven Societea event, we had only about 800 or so followers. It was a very intimate experience. Fast-forward to 2021, with nearly 12K followers, Carnaval de La Lune has definitely been the more popular of the two. However, we are excited to see if that will change later this year when the Societea returns.
HEN: How did the pandemic impact Witches Brew LA?
JD: I would say things are steadily getting better. We had a rough first half of 2020, canceling shows, postponing The Raven Societea and hosting virtually. We were out of commission until October of 2020 when we produced Ghosts of the Past. Most of the events we produce are free to the public, but we are able to supplement with event-exclusive merchandise and occasional more exclusive ticketed events. Our main goal with 2020 was to not let our vendors or guests down. We created virtual events and marketplaces, a COVID-adapted dining and haunt experience, and really had time to create and envision new concepts.
HEN: How did you decide to host Les Carnaval de La Lune at the Heritage Square Museum?
JD: We have been looking forward to working with Heritage Square Museum since 2019 after our first The Raven Societea event, where we were lucky enough to meet the executive director, Kori, who was attending. It was one of our favorite possible locations for The Ghosts of the Past, however, due to outdoor dining restrictions at the time, we were unable to host an event back in 2020. Fast-forward to February 2021 and the stars aligned.
HEN: What was the process like creating an event like Les Carnaval de La Lune?
JD: For Carnaval de la Lune, this process has been nearly 4.5 months in the making. The concept was one we originally had planned for another event, unfortunately scrapped due to COVID. When we looked at the beauty of Heritage Square, it just made sense to us to bring the Carnaval to life. We’ve hand-selected all talent and performers, worked with Zachariah the Witch to create an immersive stage show and photo ops, and spent the last few months curating a marketplace we feel matches the theme of the show. With a small team of three, it’s been a busy but gratifying last few months. Modifying an event to fit COVID guidelines has to be the most difficult part of this experience. We want to create the energy of a traveling vintage sideshow from 6 feet apart, so we’ve attempted to create fun ways to do that with Carnaval de la Lune.
HEN: What kinds of shopping and performances can we expect?
JD: Guests who purchased VIP tickets will take home some event-exclusive items. We will also have a few available for sale at the event. In addition, all guests will be able to shop from a curated marketplace of over 55 different shops, apothecaries, artisans and food vendors while enjoying the show and photo ops!
Without giving too much away, you can expect to see all kinds of sideshow talent and live performers. From carnies, contortionists and aerialists to a familiar world-renowned sideshow performer. We have eight performers, five of who will be performing in our stage show.
HEN: What else can guests expect?
JD: We will have three carnival games set up at the event where guests can win spooky prizes and plushes. We wanted a fun way to help raise funds for Heritage Square Museum. A significant portion of the proceeds will be donated to Heritage Square.
The event is COVID-friendly and adapted. We are implementing timed-entry slots to limit our capacities. Masks wearing will be enforced, and handwashing stations will be made available for guests. In order to allow more guests to experience this event — being it has been adapted to current COVID regulations — we have implemented two-hour time slots. The stage show will be the same for all three time slots. We utilize this model — as with our Night Market — to avoid overcrowding and ease the parking situation. VIP guests will enjoy all-day access to the event during the hours of 4 p.m.-10 p.m.
HEN: What does the rest of the year look like for Witches Brew LA events?
JD: We are currently mapping out 2021 and 2022 for The Night Market across Southern California and surrounding areas/states. We hope to be able to bring The Raven Societea back this fall and launch two new concepts that were on hold due to COVID as well. More on that soon.
HEN: What challenges have you experienced over the past year-and-a-half as far as event planning?
JD: I have learned a great deal over this last year. The biggest challenge was not being able to host pop-ups in the traditional way. However, I think we were able to quickly adapt to a new, safer experience, which we can utilize post-pandemic.
HEN: Has the past year affected how you see the horror and Halloween community?
JD: YES! My love for this community has only strengthened since our first event. I am also a vendor and small business owner in the Halloween and horror community. I vend at other pop-ups, I attend others. I’ve gotten to work alongside so many amazing friends and met some new ones in the process. The community is resilient, supportive and we all have each other’s backs.
The Gory Details Les Carnaval de La Lune Heritage Square Museum in Los Angeles June 12, 2021, 4-10 p.m. Tickets are going fast: witchesbrewla.com