Annual Ladyfest Spotlights Women In Music

Jun 14, 2018

A visit from a pioneer for women in punk rock is among the highlights of the fifth annual Ladyfest.

The three-day grassroots music festival welcomes Alice Bag, whose group The Bags helped create the 1970s Los Angeles punk scene along with legendary groups like The Germs and X.

“A lot of people don't know about her, but she's just awesome … and started a band again and has been touring around,” said Ladyfest co-organizer Jen Sabol.

Bands fronted by women, transgender people and gender-nonbinary individuals are much more common today than they were on the ’70s punk scene. But Ladyfest organizers said that with the local and national music world still dominated by male acts, there remains a need to spotlight women, and to create a safe and inclusive space for music fans of all backgrounds and identities.

The festival includes four shows over three days, each at a different venue.

Acts run the gamut from acoustic to punk, rap and indie pop. Most of the talent is Pittsburgh-based, including such local favorites as rapper Blak Rapp Madusa, singer Jacquea Mae and indie pop band Dinosoul.

Notable touring performers include singer Iris Creamer from Providence, R.I. “She has just kind of like sultry beats,” said festival co-organizer Steph Flati.

Flati also touted No Men, a noise-rock band from Chicago. “They are very, just loud, in-your-face,” she said. “Their performance is over the top.”

No Men feature in the show Friday, June 15, at The Shop in Lawrenceville.

Saturday night’s show, at Spirit, in Lawrenceville, spotlights a dozen acts, include Alice Bag Band, Blak Rapp Madusa, Dinosoul and Flat’s group The Lopez.

On Sunday morning, there’s an acoustic brunch at Hambone’s, in Lawrenceville. The closing concert is Sunday night at Babyland, in Oakland.

Tickets for all the shows are $10 to $15, except for the brunch, which is by donation.

Flati said that more than just the music, Ladyfest is also about building community among artists and audiences alike.

“You're like, ‘Pittsburgh such a small city. How did I not ever see this band before? How have I never met this other woman before?’” she said. “So it's kind of just, building up that community and introducing people, too. I think is a really big part of it.”

Ladyfest benefits the Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh and the music program Girls Rock.