LadyFest Syracuse celebrates feminism and all genders in second annual event

LadyFest Syracuse, a one-day mini festival dedicated to feminism provides a space for female-empowered creativity and expression.

On Saturday Sept. 26, the Westcott Community Center was packed with people of all ages and genders at the second annual LadyFest Syracuse event.  Live music, feminist spoken word and artwork viewings were just some of the activities that guests enjoyed at the feminist music and arts festival. 

The first LadyFest was held in Olympia, Washington, in 2000 and since then numerous places have used the festival to celebrate feminism and feminist work.  Meghan Tamilio, the organizer of the event for the second year in a row, was inspired by the original LadyFest and felt it was time that Syracuse jumped on the bandwagon. 

“I kind of felt like there wasn’t a community to connect with and the music scene here was very male-dominated, so I wanted to make a statement and celebrate ladies,” Tamilio said.

With such a huge success from the last LadyFest, Tamilio stuck with some of the same participants, such as zine-creator, Cara Luddy, and continued the idea of asking guests to donate material items like clothing, household items and toiletries to Vera House, a Syracuse domestic and sexual violence agency.

LadyFest Syracuse featured six booths dedicated to distributing books, artwork, embroideries and music that were all created by the booth vendors. It was an eclectic and diverse group that was dedicated to voicing its thoughts and images about feminism. 

Some of the participants included author Lorrie Sprecher, who presented her feminist novel Pissing In A River, local artist Manda Brezicky, who showed her artwork fueled by horror movies and politics and Jacquelyn Marie O’Brien, whose many fabrics and embroideries with images of vaginas and sayings such as, “Feminist Killjoy,” showcased a combination of humor and feminism.

Along with the displays of artwork, guests enjoyed refreshments and posing for the self-made photo booth, but as Tamilio promised, this year’s festival was more music-oriented.  The guests danced among one another and balloons floated through the air while local Syracuse bands, The Nudes, Malvinas and NYC punk band Thundera each played a set.

“We wanted LadyFest to be a safe space where people feel comfortable, but we also wanted it to be fun and a celebration,” Tamilio said. 

With such a heavy atmosphere of punk music playing throughout the room, there was a contrast of silence that was displayed when guest speaker Montinique McEachern’s words were heard.  Through spoken words about fat femmes and an ode to Sandra Bland, a moment of silence was given as some showed respect and others collected their emotions.  

Syracuse University student Hasmik Djoulakian was a first-timer at the event, but appreciated what LadyFest Syracuse offered to the community and to SU.  “It’s nice to come together in music and art with the theme of celebrating women, trans, and queer identities and being able to share that space,” she said.

Post new comment

* Field must be completed for your comment to appear on The NewsHouse
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.