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Ladyfest ready to GLAM up the UC

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

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  • Republic of Safety, one of the bands performing this year

    Republic of Safety, one of the bands performing this year

Written by Ashley Fortier

GUELPH, ON – In its second year, Ladyfest Guelph 2005 is a volunteer-organized two-day festival taking place at the University Centre on the University of Guelph campus September 23 and 24. Organized by a collective of students and other community members operating out of the Women’s Resource Centre, the event offers two evenings of music in the Grad Lounge, in addition to a day of free workshops, an art and film show, local vendors and community groups, and a free noon hour concert. Friday’s show begins at 9pm, the daytime Saturday events will take place between 11am and 5pm, and Saturday’s show begins at 7pm. Toronto hip-hop artist Masia One and her band will be headlining on the 23rd, while the Republic of Safety, another Toronto-based group will close the rock show on the 24th.

The goal of Ladyfest Guelph is to reclaim the word “lady” through a politically engaged showcase of art and activism produced by bio and self-identified women and transfolk. Its organizers recognize the often male-dominated nature of independent music and art scenes and strive to challenge these norms by creating space where ladies are in the limelight. Collective member Emily MacLeod has been working on the festival since its inaugural year in 2004 and says “it’s been a really rewarding experience being involved in such an exciting and important festival.” The festival is open to people of all or no genders and everyone is welcome to attend. Ladyfest Guelph also rejects the idea that art and politics exist in separate worlds and offers a series of free workshops which aim to effectively draw connections between the two in a variety of ways. Full listings for these workshops are available on the website. Local art and film works featured at the festival also serve to demonstrate the overlap between art and activism.

Similar festivals are taking place throughout the world every year, modeled after the first ever Ladyfest which happened in 2000 in Olympia, Washington and grew out of the 1990’s Riot Grrrl movement there. In a town like Guelph where festivals abound, Ladyfest Guelph is unique in that it operates under an explicitly feminist and anti-oppressive framework, and isn’t shy about its political intentions. Though it is held on the university campus, it definitely aims to address a community-wide need for artistic content like that which is featured at this year’s event. Tickets for the evening performances are available at Thomas Video and The Beat Goes On, in Guelph, or can be reserved online at . Free childcare is available for Saturday’s daytime events and all the venues are wheelchair accessible. Ladyfest Guelph will attempt to accommodate any other accessibility needs with 48-hours advance notice. These and other details are all available online HERE.

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