3 p.m., Sept. 18
Not the Same as the Other Ladyfest
"In terms of gay/straight/lesbian acts, we didn't book anybody because of their sexual orientation," Tour Booker Annie says via email. "We booked the acts because they play good music." This Ladyfest, she says, is not the same Ladyfest that the San Diego Gay and Lesbian Times called "the mother ship of feminist/ queer/trans activism" in 2005.
There were several other such Ladyfests this year, in Boston, the U.K., Riverside, and Paris.
"This Ladyfest is a Ladyfest that was put together by myself and local musician Vanja James," says the Austin- based music business entrepreneur. When I point out that the original Ladyfests began in the 1990s amid the so-called riot grrl movement and then spread out to cities around the world, Tour Booker Annie (she prefers to use this over her given name) says this:
"We did not take any history of the feminist music movement into account when booking this. We only wanted to round up a bunch of talented local female musicians who do good work." The message behind the coming three-day chick-band fest, she says, is about women making music. The one festival requirement is that all the bands have at least one female in them.
"Some of the bands are fronted by guys but have female drummers." Why no man bands? "We're doing this to highlight that San Diego has a lot of great bands with girls in them."
This version of Ladyfest is actually the brainchild of Vanja (it's pronounced Vanya) James. Born and raised in San Diego, the singer/songwriter has been performing acoustic and electric blues rock since 2002. She describes her current sound this way: "Led Zeppelin and Wolfmother meets the White Stripes, but with female vocals." She lists Tour Booker Annie as one of her employers on her Facebook page.
"Vanja wrote the managers of Bar Eleven about the idea," says Annie, "and they gave her the okay. From there, lots of friends chimed in with bands they recommended, and bands that got booked recommended other bands they thought would be a good fit for the event."
Ladyfest takes place over three days in June at Eleven on El Cajon Blvd. and features a lineup of some 15 bands from Los Angeles and San Diego, including Erleen Nada, 2 Bit Radio, Lady Parts, Some Kind of Nightmare, and more. Vanja James will also perform. During the final week of Ladyfest pre-production, we schedule different times to talk but by press time, James and I were not able to connect.
Tour Booker Annie says "This is our first time doing the event on our own. We don't know what the turnout will be. We do know that the event has gotten lots of positive response on Facebook and that 150+ people have said they are attending." A strong showing, however, would be a sweet deal for the acts. After all, it's their money.
"Proceeds from the door go to the musicians who play the event."
Ladyfest: Eleven, Friday June 1-3. Schedule: Fri June 1: shows at 5pm and 9pm. Sat June 2: shows at 4pm and 9pm. Sun June 3: 5pm 619-450-4282 $4/$6