The press conference was held in the beautiful, lush, & green artist lounge area of Merriweather Post Pavilion, a lovely outdoor grove nestled in the Maryland woods. Cicadas hummed a chorus which ebbed and flowed in the background of the thick canopy of trees, and the anticipation in the air was as palpable as the sticky August humidity. One by one, the Lilith artists and festival affiliates took the place on the stage, and once one of the original founders and headlining artist Sarah McLachlan joined the stage, the conference began.
YOUNG GIRL: I have a question. So, have you guys been trying to get kids to be different? Because, you know how kids, they always want to fit in? Have you ever thought about, like, doing a different hairstyle, like, a ponytail on one side, or a braid? (everyone laughs)
SARAH MCLACHLAN: You know, I think it’s really important to be an individual. And, you know, getting to know yourself is a very intimate dance. And it’s tricky. And there are so many people pushing you in so many different directions, especially a girl your age. There’s a lot of peer pressure. And I think we all had that growing up.
BUTTERFLY BOUCHER: With the industry, and all that – I didn’t like having long hair. I’ve always loved short hair. And at some point, I was like, “You know what? I’ve just got to be me. And I’m going to cut it all off.” And, there you go. (again, laughter)
WATCH VIDEO : BUTTERFLY BOUCHER ON INDIVIDUALITY
IN RESPONSE to a question by LILITH DC Social Media Ambassador AMY CLARKE on how artists respond to MEDIA commentary on ROLE of WOMEN’s MUSIC FESTIVALS in this day and age ~
EMILY ROBISON (COURTYARD HOUNDS): I think it’s important, and I don’t think it should be that special. It shouldn’t be that special. It should be something that’s available all the time. But, for some reason, I think people find it odd.
SARAH MCLACHLAN: Well, you know, we’re a bit of an easy target in the media, I think, because we are standing up and doing something a little bit different. WE’RE CELEBRATING WOMEN. Oh my god, how shocking. You know, Tegan from Tegan and Sara made an interesting comment … there is one woman for every twenty men on the radio right now.
AMY CLARKE (SMA): Still.
SARAH MCLACHLAN: Still! And you know, I have never taken this up as a big political stance. It’s all about being joyful and making music together. And there are so many great women out there making music, I feel a great need to be near that. And be around that. So I draw that to myself. And I am inclusive by nature and I want everyone to enjoy it and be a part of it. And that’s really the bottom line of this festival. And the social consciousness, the idea of giving money back to charity, that’s just something I do in my everyday life, so it makes sense to bring it into this festival situation…
There’ve been so many labels attached to Lilith, positive & negative. And that we are sort of supposed to carry those on. And build them up. And take them on as our own. I just wish it could be what it is. It is a celebration of the amazing diversity that is out there. The fact that women are…we have come so far. Yeah, we have a long way to go. There is inequality everywhere in this world. But I like to look at the silver lining in things. I like to look at the fact that there are so many women out there, being so successful in a lot of different genres, I think the success of Lilith 11 years ago really played a part in changing some old school attitudes, certainly within the radio world. And, I think, in the industry in general. We’re forced to look at the fact that women are VERY powerful. Women were a powerful force in the industry. Women ARE a powerful force in the industry. And that doesn’t have to be a negative. It’s a beautiful thing. You know I’m a humanist, first and foremost. I’m a humanist, I’m a feminist, I’m feminine. And how wonderful that, as a woman, I get to embrace all of those things. I am so thankful to be born in this day and age.
LISSIE: A lot of times people ask me about my music, and I feel like they sort of put me in a category of WOMEN. Like it’s just one category.
AMY CLARKE (SMA): Yes, same.
LISSIE: And, you know, with guys, there’s like 50… infinity categories. But it’s like – you’re a girl singer, and THAT’S your category. So I like doing this, even though this is my first and only Lilith Fair, ’cause you kinda can see that just because you’re a woman, that doesn’t mean that you’re just all making the same kind of music. You’re talking about different things. You do different genres. Some people wear makeup, some people don’t. Some people want to have a crazy hairstyle, some people don’t. All women are not JUST ONE THING.
I like that. Also… when I was in high school, I went to Lilith Fair in Chicago. And it made me want to pursue music. It made me believe. I saw the Dixie Chicks and you (looking at Sarah McLachlan). And I had goosebumps. I was literally, like … “I WANT TO DO THIS”. And you empowered me to make feel like I wasn’t a total nutjob to think that I COULD do it.
And it was so empowering for me. And I bought the live CD, and I learned all the songs, And it meant a lot to me. So hopefully it inspires a new generation or girls to be like, “I’m a badass. I can do it too!”
AMY CLARKE (SMA): Yes. I was here at Merriweather Post in ’97 and ’98 and I just think we need many, many more of these. And I just can’t understand the feedback from anyone out there saying this time is over.
AMY RAY (of The INDIGO GIRLS): And also, I think it is important to recognize that a lot of women do support other women still in between the Lilith years by touring with other women and making sure they bring up and coming artists on their bills as opening acts, I think that’s really important. I think it’s important to mentor up and mentor down. Which is, we learn from people coming after us and the people who went before us, and also, there’s a lot of great women’s music festivals that go on under the radar, that are very radical, that give women a space to play their music and to mentor each other, and for young girls to come up and also the Girls Rock Camps. So there’s a lot going on that’s trying to shift the paradigm and change the gatekeepers. Because the gatekeepers are still men. No offense, but that’s who the gatekeepers are. And that’s why the women are not on the playlist the way they should be. That’s why they’re not in the media the way they should be. And that’s why we have to make our own infrastructures, and also at the same time try to take advantage of the infrastructures that exist that are opening up for us, you know, and not turn our back on those. So I think it’s important to do both things at the same time, and to carry on what we learn at Lilith which is “hey, let’s take some other female artists with us on the road sometimes, you know, and give other people a chance.”
WATCH VIDEO: AMY RAY on WOMEN IN MUSIC
Listen to Amy! Do check out some of the other women music festivals both nationally & internationally, or create your own 🙂 The more there are, the more usual it will be . . . Gaia Grove will be hosting a series shortly as well…
LOCAL CHARITY WINNER: WEAVE DC ~ Women Empowered Against Violence, Inc.
twitter.com/@weave_dc & @showmelovedc
Interim Executive Director, Carol Loftur-Thun
WATCH VIDEO: WEAVE DC (& sister organization SHOW ME LOVE DC)
SARAH MCLACHLAN: And what an amazing fun, meaningful thing it has been for all of us… this tour this time around has affected me so much more profoundly than last time… I think I just got to touch upon a lot of the feelings, and that sense of camaraderie and the friendships that were created and the amazing music and musical education that I got. And you know, I was talking to Sara Bareilles the other night too, you know, how much we needed it. She said how much she needed this and how this fed her. And you know, we exist in solitude, as artists. So much of the time. And I think this is just an amazing opportunity for all of us to get together and hear each others’ music and connect and just be together as human beings. And as women. It’s just been really fantastic. I’m sad that it’s ending. (looks down)
But we’re coming back next year! (looks up, broad grin)
WATCH: SARAH MCLACHLAN on LILITH 2011
Looking forward . . .
Part 4 Final ~ Rest of the Fest . . . more will be posted soon
THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HELPED MAKE LILITH 2010 A BEAUTIFUL & EMPOWERING EXPERIENCE ~ SEE YOU NEXT YEAR
NEXT: Gaia Grove takes off for BURNING MAN 2010: METROPOLIS
THE MAN BURNS on SEP 4, 2010
LEAVE NO TRACE