Ladybug Music Festival Celebrates Women in Music!

Image courtesy of Moonloop Photography.
For Gayle Dillman, organizer of the annual “Ladybug Music Festival” one thing was clear from the start. She wanted to increase exposure to women musicians and she has done so on a whole new level. The Ladybug Music Festival kicks off Friday, July 20th, will now last for two days and has been called the largest celebration of women in music and it’s all happening in our very own downtown, Wilmington, Delaware!
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Organizers for the all-women Ladybug Music Festival in Wilmington, Delaware say it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to get women onto lineups. Heading into its seventh year, the all-ages festival has managed to fill its lineup with female musicians, women-fronted bands, and artists who identify as women since its inception.

“There are many gloriously talented women out there who are overlooked in the major festival scene,” says Ladybug co-founder Gayle Dillman. “I am doing it locally so every other festival should be able to hold themselves to a higher standard. I am not a rocket scientist. I am just a driven woman who wants to see better and more for women in this world, in this country, and specifically in the music scene.”

What You Can Expect to See

This year’s Ladybug festival, which has grown from its debut with 35 artists in 2012, will take place from July 20-21 and boasts the title of the largest celebration of women in music. The 2018 edition will feature headlining performances from Nalani & Sarina on Friday night and Lauren Ruth Ward on Saturday. With around 60 female or female-led acts performing, Dillman who co-owns Gable Music Ventures with business partner Jeremy Hebbel can’t comprehend why larger festivals can’t seem to find women for their lineups.

“I could probably do this festival for a week if I had funding for it. I literally turn away hundreds of women because we are limited on space and what our budget can uphold,” Dillman says. “Women are so underrepresented across the board and it is killer when you know it can be so much better. I finally said, “I don’t like the way it is, so I’m going to affect the change. Everything starts with the individual.”

The free, all-ages event takes over Market Street in Wilmington for two full days of programming with a wide array of genres across the block party-style festival. Several stages take up indoor and outdoor spaces and are assembled and worked by a 70% female staff.

How it’s Grown

“I’m trying to make sure, as this festival grows, to find ways to reach out to women across the board. One of the groups I have partnered up with for finding techs is SoundGirls. They put out the word and we put out the word that we were looking for women,” says Dillman, commenting on a common industry issue of placing women behind the scenes as well as on stage.

For the past two years, Ladybug Music Festival has been able to expand with the help of larger partners. Chase became a presenting partner in 2017, allowing the festival to increase to two days and include more artists. Promoter Live Nation has also lent their support with the free use of their local venue, The Queen.

This Years Talent

This year’s event will see performances throughout the street from Kategory 5, Cecilia Grace, McKinley Short, Phoebe Legere, Grace Vonderkuhn, Hoochi Coochi, and Angela Sheik. Past headliners have included Caroline Rose, Mary Lambert, and Larkin Poe. For the first time, Saturday night will also include 12 female comedians for the No Bro Comedy Show.

“We look for quality. We look for women who are driven, who can fit in the spaces that we have available,” Dillman says. “People love that opportunity to walk around, check out a different genre of music. It is all very, very fluid.”

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