Friday, April 30, 2010

Return of the Lilith Fair (by Suzie)

I was excited this week to hear that the Lilith Fair is coming to town. I caught all three tours 1997-1999. This puts me at odds with feminist bloggers who are considered hip. (I hate hip, but that’s a topic for another Friday.) Sacha Whitmarsh defends the tours, but I imagine no one will take her seriously because she’s a fan of Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls, and OMG, that’s lesbians with acoustic guitars, how boring can you get? We want Lady Gaga!

In 1996, Lollapalooza had no female acts. Rarely did two women tour together. A female star had to be balanced out with a male opening act. In 1997, I wrote that the Lilith Fair was bound to change things. I wonder how much it did. It’s still common for mega tours to have few, if any, women. I rarely listen to the radio, but when I do, it’s still one male artist after another on most stations.

While home for my 20-year high-school reunion, I caught the first Lilith Fair in Dallas with one of my sisters. Next to us were a straight couple next to a dad and his daughter next to four frat boys next to a lesbian couple. A man in a Texas A&M cap sat behind a woman with a Celtic triskelion tattoo. With men outnumbered 4-1, they either respected music by women or they kept their mouths shut. It felt so different from other outside tours where men dominate.

In 1998, I caught the tour in Orlando with three lesbians active in the struggle for LGBT rights. For a break from the sweltering heat, we ducked into misting tents and then walked around in wet T-shirts free from harassment. In 1999, I went to Atlanta with a boyfriend who couldn’t handle the crowds, and I ended up hearing some great acts from the parking lot. Each time, I felt like I was in a world of women.

Did any of you see the Lilith Fair?
I'm sparing y'all a Miranda Lambert video of "I'm Texas as Hell." Instead, the video above is from the Court Yard Hounds, which consists of Martie Maguire and Emily Robison, the two sisters who formed the Dixie Chicks. The third member, Natalie Maines, is taking a break. Lambert and the Hounds are on the tour, along with many others who are not from Texas.