The Rapidian

LadyFest celebrates Grand Rapids women

The event includes diverse performances from musicians and poets, as well as DIY educational workshops.

LadyFest GR

Saturday, April 4

12 p.m.-1 a.m.

Workshops and daytime performances from 12 p.m.-6 p.m.

Nighttime performances start at 6:30 p.m.

Performance wristbands are $10. The entire price will go to benefit Girls Rock! Grand Rapids.

Full schedule of workshops and performers

Debra Dieppa works on a collage.

Debra Dieppa works on a collage. /Mackenzie Bush

Attendees of last year's event strike a pose.

Attendees of last year's event strike a pose. /Katy Batdorff

The LadyFest poster highlights the event's DIY feel.

The LadyFest poster highlights the event's DIY feel. /Courtesy of LadyFest GR

On April 4, downtown Grand Rapids will spend a full day appreciating and learning from the diverse range of voices that women in the city have to offer. The event's mission is "a celebration of badass women in our community," to empower and encourage all members of the community to join in honoring the strengths, talents and creative power of women and girls.

LadyFest GR, an offshoot of the national event, is entering its fourth year. The event offers DIY educational workshops, diverse and radical performances and local vendors.

"It's really important to highlight all the amazing things that women are doing," says Sarah Scott, one of the members of the LadyFest planning committee.

During the first part of the day, from 12-6 p.m., LadyFest offers educational workshops. All of the workshops will be led by women, but people of all ages and genders are welcome to attend, and event organizers say they are working hard to ensure it will be welcoming to all.

These events are located in different locations in the Heartside neighborhood, including Heartside Gallery, Heartside Chapel, The Pyramid Scheme and Lantern Coffee.

The variety in the workshops is substantial, and allows for a wide range of diversity in the panelists. Events this year include a rhyming workshop, a discussion of women in comic books, a class on how to fix bikes, and a panel on fat politics. 

"A lot of community members are teaching a skill set. Some are really hands on workshops, which are made for people to walk away with things like an herbal tea blend or a finished piece of artwork," Scott says.

Along with the workshops, there are performances all day by a variety of different women performers, including poets, solo musicians, full bands, an improv troupe and a full variety show. After 6:30 p.m., the headliners begin performing at The Pyramid Scheme. This year's headliners are Casual Sweetheart, Hannah Rose Graves, The Veloras and SuperDre.

Vendors will also be present at the Pyramid Scheme, including The Bandit Zine, The DAAC, Girls Rock! Grand Rapids and Vault of Midnight.

Every year, LadyFest chooses a different charity beneficiary. This year, Girls Rock! Grand Rapids, the local chapter of a nationwide organization to teach girls about music and rock and roll, will receive the entire $10 entrance fee for the performance wristbands.

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