We Need Another Lilith Fair

Jezebel writer Audra Heinrichs makes the case for why 'America needs a femme show again'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 1, 2022 9:35 AM CDT
We Need Another Lilith Fair
Sarah McLachlan is seen at the Juno Awards in London, Ontario, on March 17, 2019.   (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)

(Newser) – This year is the 25th anniversary of the debut of Lilith Fair, the all-women concert series spurred by Canadian singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan that featured the likes of Sheryl Crow, Indigo Girls, Queen Latifah, and Tracy Chapman. It's now time to bring something like it back, writes Audra Heinrichs for Jezebel, who laments the fact that the event ended after just three summers, despite the fact that it became the "top-grossing touring festival of the moment." A revival attempt in 2010 didn't go beyond that year, but Heinrichs insists that "America needs a femme show again." Citing a 2019 oral history of the music fest in Vanity Fair, Heinrichs notes how the huge success of the event surprised the industry, though not McLachlan, who was always confident that concertgoers would show up in droves. "People were saying, 'You can't do that.' Well, we did ... and people came," she told VF.

That's partly because the fest wasn't just about music: Groups like RAINN and Planned Parenthood set up booths at shows, and proceeds from ticket sales were funneled to domestic violence shelters. There were also dedicated stations set up for breastfeeding moms and an overall focus on creating a safe space for women to enjoy their favorite artists. It's an initiative Heinrichs would like to see rebooted, considering that stats show that two-thirds of the biggest music-fest rosters are made up of all-male acts. In the end, despite early struggles with diversity, Lilith Fair "created a space that stood for something more than just proving female and femme artists were worth paying attention to; it made attendees feel respected, empowered, and a vital part of something bigger than themselves," Heinrichs writes. "After nearly three decades ... perhaps it's time to try again." Her piece in full here. (Read more Lilith Fair stories.)

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