Friday, March 4, 2011

Women's History Month: Lilith Fair

Women Rock On!

The summer of 2010 saw the return of one of the highest-earning touring festivals of the 1990s. From 1997 through 1999, Lilith Fair entertained 1.5 million fans and raised over $10 million for national and local charities. Ironically, the inspiration for this successful tour was the recording industry’s erroneous belief that a women's music tour could not be a financial success.

In 1996, Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter Sarah McLachlan became frustrated with the concert promoters who would not feature two female musicians on the same bill and radio stations which would not play their music back to back.  Her frustration led her to decide to prove a point. McLachlan self-booked a tour for herself and fellow singer/songwriter Paula Cole, and it became one of the more successful tours of the year.  The tour date in Halifax, Nova Scotia (McLachlan’s home town) featuring McLachlan and Cole with guests Lisa Loeb and Michelle McAdorey was the first show to be called “Lilith Fair.” The name came from the mythological Lilith, the first wife of Adam, who was cast out of Eden because she would not do as she was told—a fitting image for women who were bucking the male-dominated music industry’s rules.

The next year, McLachlan founded the Lilith Fair tour. A total of 61 acts played in various line-ups in 36 concerts across the United States and Canada, including the Deer Creek Music Center in Noblesville, Indiana, now known as the Verison Wireless Music Center.  The following two years saw an expansion in the number of artists and concerts on the tour, making Lilith Fair one of the largest tours of the 90s.

Ticket sales for the 2010 revival of Lilith Fair were plagued by the current state of the economy. Light sales  forced the cancellation of several dates. Nevertheless, reviews were strong and the organizers have promised that Lilith Fair will return in 2011 and 2012.

The Music Collection has CDs by several of the women featured on the 2010 tour including:

Cat Power

Colbie Caillat

Emmylou Harris

Erykah Badu


Martina McBride

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