The Return of Lilith Fair
It is going to be a huge summer for rockers with vaginas. The festival that injected the late nineties with a healthy dose of estrogen is back in 2010 with a virtual who’s who of female musicians and the buzzword is diversity. Where else can you see Mary J. Blige, Loretta Lynn and Beth Ditto on the same stage? With 32 cities and more being added each week, the fest is set to rival anything the boys can throw together and promises to be a great place to discover new music.
“From 1997 through 1999, Lilith Fair was one of the highest grossing touring festivals in the world, with over 1.5 million fans in attendance and raising over $10 million dollars for national and local charities,” claims the official website at www.lilithfair.com.
I remember my first Lilith Fair. 1997. I was living in Minneapolis as a newly out scenester with a fake I.D. and delusions of invincibility. Thinking I could make it through the festival on only a mocha latte and a corndog was not one of my most intelligent decisions. I did, however, get to see Shawn Colvin, Meredith Brooks, Jewel and Sarah McLachlan with my best friend Walter and a squeeze-du-jour who wouldn’t fight to the front of the stage with me. Maybe she was jealous.
What I didn’t appreciate at the time was looking out across a sea of strappy tank tops and butterfly tattoos at a ginormous musical event that focused on the talents of women who had worked pretty hard to get where they were. Women were all over the charts. On television and on the radio. And these weren’t vacuous Maxim bimbos that happened to pick up a guitar and pose. Most of them were exceptional musicians, songwriters and performers. I thought the tide had turned and that the rock and roll boys club had finally accepted us.
And then there was Britney.
Suddenly all the sexy, literate girl rockers disappeared. Sarah McLachlan got married. Jewel touted the awesomeness of Schick razors (“Intuition”). Many of the others faded off to casino appearances and lounge acts. The early part of the millennium was a terrible time to have ears. Nickelback. Need I say more?
But things are looking up again. Heart, Metric, Cat Power, Missy Higgins, Tegan and Sara, Sheryl Crow and even the gun totin’ Miranda Lambert will take the stage to entertain the sun-burned masses on grassy lawns across the country. Duets will be sung. Impromptu jam sessions will occur. Menstrual cycles will align. Whether this is a sign of better things to come, or just a positive trend, I will certainly be on hand to get the skinny on the ladies of Lilith. And this time, I’ll be front-row center with a cold drink and a press pass. Cheers.