The Rapidian

LadyfestGR to bring community together in celebration of local women

5th annual festival to harness knowledge, creativity and power in a day-long celebration on April 2nd in the Heartside neighborhood.
Girls Rock Grand Rapids

Girls Rock Grand Rapids /Courtesy of LadyFestGR

Underwriting support from:

Want to be a Volunteer?

If you're interested in volunteering for this event, please email [email protected] for more information.

To see full list of workshops and what to look forward to, check out the LadyfestGR website. 

Past performer Heather Allegrina, of The Veloras, photo by Katy Batdorff

Past performer Heather Allegrina, of The Veloras, photo by Katy Batdorff /Katy Batdorff

Girls Rock Grand Rapids

Girls Rock Grand Rapids /Courtesy of LadyfestGR

Saturday April 2nd marks the fifth annual LadyfestGR, hosted in the Heartside Neighborhood. A multifaceted event, those attending can expect to leave with knowledge surrounding buying local food on a budget, equity in neighborhoods, LGBT rights and exposure to new music.

The Pyramid Scheme, Heartside Studio, Stella’s Lounge and Have Company will house performances, workshops, discussions and show short films from the Grand Rapids Feminist Film Festival.

Workshops include:

1. Trans Women are Women: Including Trans Women in Women's Spaces-  with Davison Nichols

2. Mental Health Self Care- with Becky Stout

3. Negotiation: Strategies for asking for what you are Worth- with Lizzie Grathwol

4. Setting the Context for Race in Feminism - with Breannah Alexander

5. Spend Less and get More: Eating Well within your Budget- with Amber Rosalez and Christina Flier

“We liked the idea of free education during the event, and an opportunity to see what amazing things women have to offer and teach. My daughter comes every year with me, she's 11. She's noticed each year how powerful it is to see women featured doing what we do, anything from rocking a drum kit, to teaching about becoming lawyers, growing food, fixing bikes and drawing comics,’ says Sarah Scott, LadyfestGR Organizer.

LadyfestGR is modeled after an event hosted in Olympia, Washington in 2000 which turned into a global event where different cities and countries around the world lift up and celebrate local women in their skills, knowledge and power. Each year the Grand Rapids committee has grown and evolved, beginning with Jes Kramer, Sarah Scott and Tami VandenBerg coming together the first year to ensure this event happens in Grand Rapids.

“We all three had been working in community, all have kids, and wanted to be able to have an event that highlighted the amazing things that girls and women do. We decided to structure LadyfestGR so it features women and girls leading workshops, playing music, performing, and we wanted to be sure that everyone was welcome to attend,” says Scott.

The entire event is hosted in the walkable neighborhood of Heartside making it easy to bounce between workshops and musical performances. Paying $10 dollars for a wristband will allow attendees access to all performances, but workshops are free. LadyFestGR is an all ages, all genders, everyone welcome event. All proceedswill be donated to Girls Rock Grand Rapids, dedicated to empowering girls and women through music.

“We are hoping for new and familiar faces every year, and are trying to make broader connections with women in and around the city. We know we have work to do to make sure everyone feels welcome and included, and we're trying each year to make this a strong event,” says Scott.

LadyfestGR is working to create a variety of spaces where conversations surrounding race and women can be had and action can be taken.

“I'm looking forward to creating a space where women can explore their interaction with race and how women can better explore addressing racism through an intersectional lens,” says Breannah Alexander, one of the workshop speakers.

As an inclusive event, LadyFest encourages embracing your femininity through skills, passion and openness to those around you.  

“As a granddaughter, daughter, sister, aunt and now a mother, I feel that LadyFest supports the reemergence of the whole woman, feminist, being, whatever that looks like to you. To empower each other in realizing our soul's purpose with reckless abandon and passion. It gives the community, male, female, and LBGTQ the resources necessary to facilitate in truly supporting said efforts,” says workshop speaker, Christina Flier.

Pyramid Scheme, Seeds of Justice, Sparrows, IC Hair and Vintage, Birthsong, Harmony Hall and GVSU Women’s Center are supporting this event.

More information about LadyFestGR is available on their website and Facebook page.

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