finally have found a bit of time to write a review of something I had been looking forward to since I first heard about it- back towards the beginning of the year- that's of course Ladyfest Ten! So called because this year Ladyfests have been organised for 10 years (the first one happened in 2000 in Olympia, Washington). So to celebrate, some lovely ladies in London decided to throw a big weekend's worth of Ladyfest goodness- filled with workshops, music and much more. I couldn't afford to go to all three days so I picked the best sounding day- Saturday.
To my annoyance, this was a day that every tube line I was planning to take decided to close, or partly close, meaning there was chaos as the inevitable overcrowding happened. So in the end, we wound up getting a bus to Islington and arrived later than initially planned, so we had a very brief time to quickly scoff some chips down for lunch before heading to the first thing on our agenda at the Resource Centre- a workshop- Women in the Media panel discussion.
We all sat in a circle as we were introduced to the panel- Annette Barlow- writer for The Girls Are (link to blog on my side menu) Jess McCabe- writer for The F Word (another one on my side menu and highly recommended) Ruth Barnes- radio presenter of The Other Woman , Bidihisa and Kira Cochrane, both of the Guardian.
Each speaker provided their point of view about what it's like working as a woman in the media. It wasn't about discussing media stereotypes and representations of women (although a very worthy subject too) but about blogging, the trouble of working for free, how to get your foot in the door. Some was very positive, and some quite negative. It's a sad fact when you learn even the BBC still doesn't feature as many women as it should do in it's programming. The session ended with a Q&A session with many women asking thoughtful interesting question, and made me realise how many there are of us trying to promote things such as female music, writing etc.
Afterwards we had a little look around the stalls and admired the "Lady Garden" an area where you could sit and be creative- some people were crocheting, others were knitting etc. There was some really wonderful mini protest banners hanging up. The stalls were a mix of zines, books and other wonderful things. I came away with a book about making zines, a magazine, and a sash that says "Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History" from a very cool women's environmental group who base their selves on the suffragettes- Climate Rush
We then moved onto Studio La Danza to have a go at a dance workshop! It was called "Riot Grrrl" although the song we learned a routine to was actually Marilyn Manson's version of "Tainted Love". I got tired out pretty quickly but the teacher was super nice and took it us through the routine slowly. It was fun but tiring!
We needed a break afterwards so we went had a lovely Thai curry at a nearby restaurant before making our way to The Relentless Garage for some music! I missed a few of the artists I would have liked to see because they clashed with the other things we wanted to do (which was one problem with so many things going on) but I did at least manage to buy a copy of She Makes War's album (which I highly recommend by the way)
We caught the very last song of Veronica Falls, it sounded quite good but I haven't heard enough to say more than that.
The first band we saw the whole set of was Vile Vile Creatures who were my musical highlight of the evening. They played short, punky songs that were right up my street.
next band we saw was Battant who I wasn't really sure of to start with, but I got more and more into it as the set played. It seemed very electro at the time, but having a listen on MySpace now, they do have an electro tinge about them but it isn't pure electro, it's mixed with garage style rock too.
The next artist was the rather extravagant Nicky Click who took the stage barely wearing anything and a pony tail. She had a large and proud attitude which was good, but her music wasn't really my thing. It was electro/dance, in a Peaches style manner, but personally I much prefer Peaches!
Finally was the headliner MEN who feature JD Samson of Le Tigre. As I suspected, being a fan of Le Tigre, I really enjoyed MEN. The music was quite similar to Le Tigre, funky electro rock you can dance to with a political message. So if you haven't listened to them yet, go do it!
Thanks to the trains and tubes, we barely could stay for the after party although the tunes we did manage to hear the dj's playing at the horatia were awesome, so I'm sure it was a great party! I was so glad that I didn't do any volunteering this year and could really enjoy the festival to it's fullest this time. I can't wait for another one!