Guys. I have been meaning to write about my experience with the first annual Women in Music weekend held in my awesome city of Huntsville, AL (Rocket City, if you will). The event spanned three days and was chock full of stellar, female-led bands and solo acts that started Thursday, August 9th and ran through Sunday, Aug 12th. I was honored to play twice during the event, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Chad Emerson, who runs Downtown, Huntsville, Inc., was out for a night on the town back in the Spring and caught a show by the very talented ladies who make up a trio called – “Seeking Babylon” at a local venue, and was so blown away by their performance that he couldn’t understand why more women weren’t on the local music scene. This was the beginning of something! Chad, along with local singer-songwriter, Alex Hendrix, spearheaded the initiative and thus began the plans. Chad asked Alex to start contacting local women who were either: itching to get a chance to play for the first time; eager to have a little more spotlight on what they were currently doing; have the chance to get back into the music scene; get to meet and collaborate with other female musicians, or all of the above. Alex sent me a DM on Twitter in April to get the conversation started:
What happened next was –I freaked out a bit with excitement and nervousness about what all of this would entail. I was giddy to meet other female singer-songwriters because we were so scattered about and didn’t have opportunities to meet, talk, and just, you know…bond?! None of us knew how much we needed this kickstart until it all started to unfold; but again, I’m getting ahead of myself.
Over the course of weeks, I started seeing little hints and teasers on Facebook about the Women In Music (WIM) coming to fruition. As time passed, more and more women were added to the roster, proving that not only were women eager, willing, ready, and able but that there were MORE female musicians and singers than Alex and Chad ever knew of that were pumped and on-board to be a part of history in our city!
The first event to kick off the three day festival of events was at the Church Street Wine Shoppe. Judy Allison, of the Josh and Judy Allison duo, invited me, along with Victoria Jones to join her show and play a 30 minute set each of our original music.
The venue was beautiful, and it was a full house! We enjoyed our time together and knew this was the beginning of some very special connections and friendships.
Throughout the weekend, there were performances in venues that normally didn’t host live music, with The Church Street Wine Shoppe being one. It was a perfect location to enjoy live music, wine, and delicious food! Other venues opened their doors to so many talented ladies throughout the weekend, with all of the events being well attended and supported! The next event I was asked to play was at one of our amazing Micro-Breweries, called Straight to Ale (STA for short). Alex (remember her?) asked me to be in a writers “In the round” event with herself, Cristina Lynn, and Victoria Jones.
This night was full of variety from four very different artists, which made the audience happy, and made us all feel unique as well! As you can see from the photo, we had a great crowd of eager, respectful listeners!
These ladies have become so special to me for so many reasons. Some of which is how their unique perspectives on life, love, mental health, and the world around them as a whole resulted in musical storytelling at its finest; how each of these ladies’ voices rang out with passion, soul, and depth; but mostly because it felt tribal…and that was something I didn’t realize I needed until then.
To cap off the whirlwind weekend, Judy Allison, once again performed on Sunday evening with her husband Josh, and they invited ALL of the women who performed to come out for one final song. What was the song? Wagon Wheel, of course! There are many ladies who performed who aren’t pictured, but for those of us who showed up Sunday night, it was a night to remember!! So, what’s been the aftermath? Cristina and I have had lunch and shared so much of our lives with one another; Victoria and I delivered a “thank you” cake to Downtown Huntsville, Inc., and spent time swapping ideas for promoting our music, laughing and sharing; Alex and I have exchanged many messages and have plans to meet for coffee soon; Judy and I get together regularly to grow our friendship, and we’ve even started writing a song! We have also committed to a monthly meeting for women in the music industry in our city to get together to discuss all things music (thanks Judy for organizing)! We also have an ongoing conversation on a private Facebook thread that is meant for continuing the conversation, asking for help, sharing ideas, being vulnerable, and so much more. If you are inspired by this event, please start a “Women in Music” event in your city! It’s not a feminist movement, it’s a music movement meant to uplift, empower, and create strong bonds between women while giving them a bit of a spotlight for a weekend (or two, or three…you get the picture). : )