Ladyfest London Sounds Good

Ladyfest London Sounds Good

Whenever I hear that a new Ladyfest is popping up on the horizon, I catch my breath and grin. Since I had the time of my life seeing Ladyfest Leeds 2007 shape up from the seed of an idea into a full blown 6 day arts extravaganza, with only enthusiastic volunteers to make it happen, I’ve had an eye out to see who will pick up the Ladyfest baton and run with it next. So when Ladyfest London announced that tickets were going on sale for their event (taking place on the 9th, 10th and 11th of May) I practically jumped down wegottickets’ throat.

Ladyfests have been mixing arts and activism at grassroots level for eight years now. With their feet planted firmly in the politics of the Riot grrrl movement, Ladyfests aim to provide a platform for women in a creative sphere that is often dominated by men. The first ever Ladyfest was held in the year 2000 in the home of Riot Grrrl, Olympia, Washington. With great artists including Sleater Kinney, Cat Power, and Bikini Kill’s Tobi Vail on the organisational team, it was destined to be the success it proved itself to be, with over 2000 attendees. Many of these ‘Ladyguests’ must have taken the idea to host their own Ladyfest away with them, because that is what keeps the festival rolling. There’s no corporate sponsorship here, just a few like minded individuals getting together to host their own female friendly arts festival. The label of Ladyfest is open to all who wish to continue it’s legacy.

Ladyfest London 2008 builds on a long history of Ladyfests worldwide, but promises to offer something fresh and add to the ever growing notion of what a Ladyfest can be. This is what it’s all about, as the punky, do-it-yourself ethic of the festival means that each Ladyfest is a true community venture that will reflect all who become involved. Ladyfest London is predominantly organised by young women, all of whom are volunteers keen to shine a light on lady talent. And it’s all for a good cause, with profits going to charity.

There are reasons to go to Ladyfest London other than the inevitable do-gooder after glow, of course. Ladyfest London’s musical line up is really glittering, the jewel in the crown being Kimya Dawson. Being a long time fan of the Moldy Peaches and their contemporaries, I’m so pleased that she is currently making waves with her solo work, gaining commercial and critical success for her excellent work on the soundtrack of Juno; the fastest US selling soundtrack since Saturday Night Fever. Dawson will headline Friday 9th May and will be supported by gorgeous anti folk from Seattle based Your Heart Breaks, who describe their music as ’sparse homo pop love songs written by a person who drinks too much and eats way too much sugar’. That will account for the sweetness in their sound, then.

The music side of things looks to get into full swing by Saturday with Manchester band Vile Vile Creatures taking the stage. Championed by Steve Lamacq and Mark Riley, the two creatures, Jenny Redd and Siany Chicanie, have been described as heirs to Erase Errata’s crown. The duo also deserve some sort of crown for services to Ladyfesting since they have also previously played at the Leeds and Berlin festivals.

I am excited to hear that Party Weirdo, an Indie Grrrl outfit from Dublin, will also be playing on Saturday. The mismatched beats of Emily Aoibheann, Therese McKenna and Cara Holmes, overlaid with raucous guitars, are perfect for the most exaggerated jerky indie dancing. You can’t fault their style either, they make a habit of looking hot on stage in gold leggings, aprons and pink tuxes.

Having had the immense pleasure if witnessing Ana da Silva and Gina Birch of The Raincoats perform at last years Leeds festival, I’m looking forward to seeing The New Bloods at Ladyfest London. This singing trio from Portland, Oregon, are signed up to the original Riot Grrrl label Kill Rock Stars. As well as all being vocally involved, band members Osa, Adee and Cassia create their sound with violin, drum and bass respectively. They have more than a whiff of the Raincoats about them, which means I’ll be up front along with all the other ladies who like their sounds on the post side of punk.

It’s a well kept secret, but feminists know how to party. The Sunday party at Ladyfest London looks to be a corker if having the Twee as Fuck Djs on the wheels of steel is any measure of things. For all those unaccustomed to freaking out, feminist style, The Actionettes, a sparkly synchronised dance troupe, will be showing everyone how it’s done. And no one deserves go go dancers more than special Sunday guests The Priscillas. With their leader of the pack style warblings and old time ramma lamma ding dongs, I’m looking forward to the end of Ladyfest London resembling some sort of dirtied up, alcohol infused version of a musical dance number from Grease, hand jive and all. Can’t wait!

Ladyfest London will be taking place on the 9th, 10th and 11th of May with the main music venue being the Camden Underworld. Tickets are available (under London Ladyfest) at Weekend passes are £40+booking fee in advance. Individual event tickets can also be purchased.

*From now until Monday 12th May, when the festival is over and done, £2 from each Uplift magazine sold (that’s everything but the postage) will go towards Ladyfest London. Ladyfest London is entirely volunteer run and not-for-profit, with any profits going to charity. You can also donate to Ladyfest London through their website*

From 6pm
Kimya Dawson (ex-Moldy Peaches)
Slow Club
The Bobby McGees
Monday Club
Your Heart Breaks

From 5pm

Angie Reed
Matt and Kim
New Bloods
Das Wanderlust
Party Weirdo
Drunk Granny
Vile Vile Creatures


From 5pm
Ladyfest Party! With Special Guests The Actionettes! Plus Twee as Fuck Djs with: Music:
Betty and the Werewolves
The Priscillas
+ more TBA
Mandy Muden
Rosie Wilby
Sarak Kendall ( Perrier Nominated)

By: Sarah Barnes, 21.04.2008 | Comments (1)
  • Anji
    April 21st, 2008
    2:56 pm

    Yay! I’m really looking forward to it! :D

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