The Rapidian

Grand Rapids' first LadyFest hits town

LadyFestGR brings music, information and fun to The Pyramid Scheme.
LadyFestGR planners (l to r) Dani Vilella, Jes Kramer, Sarah Scott and Tami VandenBerg

LadyFestGR planners (l to r) Dani Vilella, Jes Kramer, Sarah Scott and Tami VandenBerg /Katy Batdorff

Underwriting support from:

Who's doing what at LadyFestGR

Featured performances include hip-hop's Irawniq (from Los Angeles), electronica super DJ Superdre, the  punk rock band Doctor's Wives, British songwriter Fiona Dickinson, mellow pop's Jes Kramer and bluegrass group Nobody's Darlin'. Hosting the event is local comedian Sarah Jean Anderson. Also in the line up is live art by Georgia Taylor, a photo wall by Katy Batdorff and a host of local artist/vendors.

Doors of The Pyramid Scheme open at 4:00 p.m. Tickets are $5 for the variety show, $6 for the headline event and $8 for both events.

The ladies are taking over The Pyramid Scheme on Saturday, March 3 with Grand Rapids' inaugural LadyFestGR. The event will feature all female line-ups of musicians, artists, comedians, workshops and other fun stuff. Organizer and musician Jes Kramer said that LadyFest events first began in Olympia, Washington but her first experience was when she attended and performed at a LadyFest event in northern Michigan. "It was the first time I'd ever heard of it. I did a bit of research and kept my eye open for other events in Michigan and nothing was turning up. I was kind of bummed out about that," she said. To try to remedy the lack of LadyFests in West Michigan she posted a note on Facebook: "Just a little note, 'Hey, if I plan a LadyFest in Grand Rapids, who wants to help?' and there was an overwhelming response," she said.

She began to work with Tami VandenBerg and Sarah Scott, who were already planning a women's music show. They decided to combine their efforts and create LadyFestGR. "It's working out really well," she said.

LadyFestGR isn't just for women or about women, but all the entertainment and programming will be provided by women. "We wanted to showcase all the aspects of talent in the community that women are a part of," said Kramer. 

Yes, men should plan to attend. The event isn't meant to be gender specific when it comes to audience; the music is meant to be accessible to all people.

Among the highlights of the day, which begins at 4 p.m. and ends after midnight, are three intriguing workshops, to help do a little female community-building: how to fix your own bike, an adult sex ed program, The Vagina Unveileded presented by Planned Parenthood, and a Women's Resource Panel. 

"The variety show is going to be surprising and unpredictable," said Kramer.

Any proceeds from LadyFestGR will benefit NOWgr, the local chapter of the National Organization of Women.


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