Ladies Get a Boost at Cape Cod Women's Music Fest
By: Susan Blood, May 7, 2012
SARAH SWAIN - Musician Sarah Swain brings her own twist to folk music on the Cape.
Are female musicians as catty as they're made out to be?
Not according to Sarah Swain, a musician and organizer of this weekend’s first Cape Cod Women’s Music Festival, a concert at the Wellfleet Harbor Actor's Theater featuring the talents of Zoë Lewis, Meghan Trainer, Pam Pryor, Sarah Blacker and Monica Rizzio (of Tripping Lily).
“If you're playing a showcase, two female-fronted bands are compared to each other – and pitted against each other – more than two male-fronted bands. We're dropped into this culture and need to be very aware of not buying into it. The reality is that women are grateful when they feel supported by other women. And they do support each other – sometimes you just need to break the ice, ” she says.
But fostering support among female musicians is only part of what is driving Swain. She says she'd been thinking about the festival for years, but it was only an idea on the back burner until last fall, when she was asked to join the board of Girly Girl PARTS, a non-profit that supports ovarian cancer awareness and screening tests.
Where my ladies at?
Saturday, May 12
6 PM cocktail reception, 7:30 PM showWellfleet Harbor Actor's Theater Julie Harris Stage 2357 Route 6, Wellfleet
100% of proceeds go to Girly Girl PARTS, which donates money to the Dana Farber Institute for the development of an ovarian cancer screening test.
“When they told me they wanted to do an event, it was like a collision in my head,” says Swain, whose mother died of ovarian cancer at the age of 52. “It lit the proverbial fire. I don't know if I would have been this inspired if it had not been for them.”
No shortage of talent
When it comes to breaking the ice among her female compatriots, Swain has plenty of experience. She's played with Boston-area bands The Sallies, Professor Gascan, Vein and the Spike Emerson Society. She currently plays with the Greenheads and Sarah Swain and the Oh Boys! Her new solo album is nearing completion.
“My first band was an all-girl band, and I feel like it set me off on the right foot,” Swain says. “I have a kindred feeling toward other musicians. I've always tried to make a point of being supportive.”
But it was hard to narrow down the lineup for the Cape Cod Women’s Festival debut, Swain says.
“We have deep pockets of talent here on the Cape. Fortunately we're going to do this every year, so there will be plenty of chances to involve the women on Cape Cod and beyond.”
In addition to the music, there will be an art raffle at the festival, sponsored by Wellfleet's Frying Pan Gallery (owned by Steve and Sarah Swain). Hannah Hilliard-Bouvier, Joey Mars, Andrew Sloan and Walter Baranowski have also donated pieces to the raffle.
Girly Girl PARTS has also started a separate 501(c)(3) for the music festival. It's called Girly Girl PARTS Gives Back. Proceeds from the festival will go to women on Cape Cod who have cancer, to support them in whatever way they need.
“All the money we raise this weekend will go right back into the community. There's a formal application process – it goes through Social Services at the hospital – but once we play the festival, the very next day Girly Girl PARTS can help its first recipient,” Swain says.