Colleen Tillger and Kristi Fults were surprised to find that more students didn’t know March is Women’s History Month. Looking to change things, these two SACE (Sexual Assault Counseling and Education Program) peers combined their shared love of music and social conscience to start the Women’s Music Festival at the Owl Cove.
Something of a middle ground between two revered local DJ nights, the festival — now in its second year — merges the rock and alternative end of The Balcony’s Sugartown, and the hip-hop/soul end of The Five Spot’s Black Lily. Like the two, it looks to showcase local female musicians, but covers more of the spectrum in doing so. “We wanted to do a variety,” Tillger says. “We didn’t want to isolate any one group on campus.”
However, Tilger and Fults looked to steer away from doleful folk musicians in creating the lineup, opting for artists who can be upbeat at the same time as they portray positive images of women.
This year’s show features the all-girl punk fun band The Minks as well as the funky hip-hop of Gov’t Cheese, who boast dueling male and female emcees. In between bands, Tillger — under her preferred moniker Mz. DJ Darla — will spin the best of “Ladies of the ’80s,” and the crowd will be quizzed women’s history trivia for door prizes donated by Philly merchants. “We got a good response from local businesses,” Tillger says, listing prizes that range from a free haircut at The Chop Shop to a dinner at Johnny Rocket’s.
While last year’s lineup also contained spoken word artist Walidah, this year will instead have a 1/2 hour self-defense demonstration by members of WAVE (Women’s Anti-Violence Education, a non Temple-affiliated group). Tillger says the demo is not based on a rape scenario, but rather a mugging scenario. “We’re not exactly sure what she’s gonna do,” she says. “She’s kind of custom doing it for us.”
Perhaps more important than the performers is the people who will benefit from them. Admission to this year’s festival is free with the donation of a woman’s toiletry item (Q-tips, band-aids, shampoo, soap, etc.), which will in turn be given to Women Against Abuse, a local battered women shelter. The charitable aspect of the show alone is enough to make the bands excited about playing.
“It’s empowering being in an all girl band,” says Hope Glass of The Minks, “trying to rock hard, be ourselves, and hopefully communicate the fun we have playing…to our audience. To play and generate funds for a good cause makes it all the more positive and fullfilling.”
SACE’s Second Annual Women In Music Festival will be at the Owl Cove on March 20th from 7 to 10 p.m. Complimentary refreshments will be provided.