The LGBT community has been severely divided by the controversy surrounding the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, which is incredibly sad considering queers and women are still largely ignored at mainstream music festivals. Next summer MichFest will celebrate 40 years, but will also be making do with the performers that will still agree to play after several have taken a stand against its’ oft-discussed policies on transwomen.
No matter your thoughts on MichFest, we have put together a list of either alternatives or additional women’s music gatherings that you can attend this year or next. So many others have come and gone in the past, but there are still a handful around the U.S. that celebrate women of all kinds.
Where: Frontier Ranch in Pataskala, Ohio
Now in its 25 year, OLF boasts that it’s “one of the only remaining spaces dedicated to creating a festival for all womyn-lesbian, straight, bi, trans, etc; regardless of their age, socio-economic status, race, gender identity, religion or sexual orientation.”
Where: Barrington Shores Campground in Barrington, New Hampshire
When: September 19-21, 2014
Line-Up: Adrienne Mack-Davis, Out of Habit and Angi3
“Stargaze lets women live free without judgement, expectations, or limitations.” The event is inclusive and says they embrace “the entire LGBTQ community… welcoming to all female and male identified persons, regardless of natal origin.”
Where: Middleton, Wisconsin
When: July 2-5, 2015
Performers: Catie Curtis, Orenda and Cheryl Wheeler
Put on by the non-profit Women In the Arts, the festival has been happening in the Midwest since 1974. “Attendees come from all genders and cultures, cutting across ethnic, racial, sexual, age, and ability boundaries,” it says on the website. “Likewise, Festival programming reflects many points of view; a diversity of ideas and topics are explored and discussed in a safe environment. Festival is an environment in which philosophies and politics are open for discussion, not mandated or judged.”
Where: Camp Out in Henrico, Virginia
When: Memorial Day Weekend 2015
Line-Up: Tret Fure, Wicked Jezabel and SONiA & disappear fear
Producer Billie Hall said of the camp’s policy, “We just welcome all women. I would say that probably a large majority of the women are probably gay. We allow trans if they live with a woman, and they have drivers license that shows that they are a woman. And while they are here on the property, if they conduct themselves like a woman in their dress. We don’t expect you to show that you’re not a woman by your body parts.”
Where: Spinning Wheel in Yosemite, California
When: September 25-28, 2014
Line-Up: Average Dyke Band, Bestfriend Grrlfriend and Shelley Doty
Billed as “an inclusive, feminist fundraising gathering for women, their families, and friends of all genders,” Fabulousa is “mostly women, but all good people are welcome.” It’s been run by a collective of women artists and musicians for seven years and all proceeds benefit a different organization every year.
Where: Robber’s Roost Bookstore in Torrey, Utah
When: August 2015
Line-Up: Sarah Bettens, Toshi Reagon and Vicci Martinez
The tagline for this fest, founded in 2007, is “Music by Women…..for Everyone.” Their goal: “To empower and support independent women musicians from around the U.S. and the world.”
Where: Prospect Theater in Modesto, California
When: October 18, 2014
Line-Up: Karmen Buttler, Sandra Dolores and Deborah Lee Yates
Everyone is welcome at this new one-day festival, which calls itself “a community based organization here to support community for every woman!”
Where: Johnson County Fairgrounds in Iowa City, Iowa
When: September 27, 2014
Line-Up: Alix Olson, The Honeybees and Crys Matthews
“The entire community is invited,” says the website. “The IWMF is open to the public and everyone is encouraged to celebrate women in music and the arts.” The non-profit Prairie Voices Productions has been putting on successful IWMFs for several years.
And if you’re looking for a super queer festival of all kinds, check out Stargayzer (not to be confused with Stargayze above) in Austin, Texas September 12-14. Their line-up is all kinds of amazing with Yo Majesty, Austra, JD Samson and Magic Mouth among others.