Sunday, April 26, 2015

Women's Music Festivals

West Coast Women's Music Festival (1981)
Women's Music Festivals

Locations: Varied

Opened/Closed: Varied

With this being the last year for the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, I was curious as to what other women's music festivals have been lost over the years. As it turns out, Curve came up with a list back in October 2010--though the information they provide is sadly lacking in detail. 

Given that this list is almost five years old, I'm sure a lot of the festivals they listed as "still going strong" are now lost as well, but it's not always easy to determine. If lack of any recent Internet activity is any evidence, it looks like Chicago's Estrojam (later Decibelle) may be history as well.

Over time, I'll try to pull up more information on some of these.

Gone but not forgotten fests

Camp fest (Maryland and Pennsylvania):

Billed as the “comfortable” festival, it had cabins and a pool—filled with half-naked women. Campfest quit a few years ago and we miss it—the festival, not just the naked ladies.

East Coast Lesbian Festival (New York):

Proudly sporting “lesbian” in its title, this small but mighty festival existed for a few years back in the ’90s.

Gulf Coast Womyn’s Festival (Mississippi):

Tired of renting space, organizers Wanda and Brenda Henson bought 120 acres near Ovett, Miss. After Henson’s death, her children took over the fest, and the event morphed into the Camp Sister Spirit Folk School. Unfortunately, the last event was in 2009. We missed them this year, and will for years to come.
Lady Fest - Olympia, Washington (2000)

Lady fest (various cities):

It started in 2000 in Olympia, Wash., but is actually several festivals that happen all over the world; they share the same name and the same DIY attitude, but not much more.The original fest is gone but the one in London is still alive.

Northeast Women’s Music Retreat (New England):

Long-running and much-loved, this annual festival was a freakin’ good time. We wish it were still running.

Rhythm fest (Georgia and North Carolina):

Started by workers from other festivals, this was one of the first in the Deep South.Too bad they aren’t around anymore.

Southern Women’s Music and Comedy Festival (Georgia):

Organizer Robin Tyler felt so strongly about including comedy that she put it in the title. Tyler brought in political activists and authors too. Sadly, it ended in 1995.

West Coast Women’s Music Festival (California):

Fifteen years of 2,000 or more women in the woods near Yosemite. Did it get any better than that?

Wimmin fest (New Mexico

Shows were at the beautiful Kimo Theatre in downtown Albuquerque. They stopped just a few years ago. Damn.

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