FemFest VI returns to Monstercade
*Editor’s note: The band Cold Cream is technically from the Triangle, not Raleigh and FemFest’s date was listed incorrectly at the end of the article. It has been corrected online.
FemFest is back again, with heavier tunes and a tighter format being the name of the game for the sixth annual benefit show against domestic violence and sexual assault going down at Monstercade on Oct. 19.
Hosted by Bryn Fox of “the Bryn Show,” and sponsored by YES! Weekly, the lineup features femme-fronted bands from around the Southeast. As always, proceeds will go to the local women’s shelter through Winston-Salem Family Services.
“I’m thrilled that Bryn came to us once again to host such an important cause,” said Laurie Ruroden from Monstercade, who’ll be bartending through the whole thing. “I plan to be fully immersed,” she added, “Monstercade is a safe space for all who enter, so this fundraiser means something to me. Events like this seem to help start a dialogue that we as humans thought to not be OK to discuss openly, and I believe that FemFest has a hand in breaking that cycle.“
Now in its sixth-year, FemFest has established itself as both a fundraiser and platform. Billie Feathers, who’s performed five-out-of-six years, agreed. “My favorite memories are when people share their stories of victories over their experiences,” she said. “Domestic violence can happen to anyone, and it is incredibly important to raise awareness and help other victims find a solid support system. As a victim of domestic violence myself, FemFest is a yearly non-judgmental celebration of survival and empowerment.”
Beyond performing with her band the P-90’s, Feathers is enjoying her return to Winston, working on a graduate degree in guitar from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. The group, who proclaimed themselves the “unofficial UNCSA punk band-in-residence,” will launch their own FemFest funding drive. “We only do P-90’s shirts once a year and only for FemFest, with sales going to the fundraiser,” they explained.
Fellow Winston artist and scheduled FemFester, Mama, the solo project from Laura Gardea, likewise carries the torch of empowerment through her music, described as dream pop inspired by a “lifelong fascination with ecology, the iniquity of women’s rights,” according to the Mama bio.
Mama also performed at FemFest in 2016. Other returning acts include Bob Fleming and the Cambria Iron Company and LA Dies, a four-piece from Lynchburg, Virginia. Both bands played Test Pattern in 2017. FemFest first-timers include the Triangle’s Cold Cream, and True Lilith from Charlotte.
Mara Thomas is fresh both to FemFest and Cold Cream, joining the group earlier this year after the first vocalist moved out of state. “The original songs have a strong, unapologetic point of view,” Thomas said. “I’m determined to carry that forward with our new material.”
Inspired to “hit the ground running come 2020,” Cold Cream will showcase some of their newest songs at FemFest, who they’d like to thank, “for prioritizing womxn’s voices.”
“Womxn have so much strength, so much to say, and so much to contribute,” Thomas noted. “It’s our first time performing, and I think everyone’s first time attending the event. We’re honored to have our name offered for consideration after some folx saw us at Hopscotch. We’re so grateful to Bryn for reaching out.”
The sentiment is echoed by the newcomers in True Lilith, “We’re excited to support a great cause while playing with fellow musicians,” said the group, now pumping their debit EP Wilt through streaming platforms.
LA Dies are returning to the FemFest bill, also, with a recent release in their repertoire: the full-length LP, Drifting Still. “We’ll be playing mostly songs from that, mixed in with a few oldies,” they explained. “We’re hoping to bring some pizzazz. Some real razzle-dazzle, if you will,” they said of their set, praising the overall vibe of the event. “All of the diversity is so refreshing,” they added of FemFest lineups. “It’s also such a wonderful environment – very welcoming and warm.”
As opposed to the staggered venue approach of past years, FemFest VI reigns a smaller, more intimate scale. In the pursuit of further fundraising, a silent auction will be held in tandem with the jams. Art by Laura Ashley, Meredith Lindsay Becraft and John Blackburn are a sampling of the items up for grabs.
The single-day event will feature a heavier turn, bringing bands from around the southeast together for awareness and support surrounding issues of domestic violence and sexual assault. The show starts at 2 p.m. on Oct. 19 at Monstercade in Winston-Salem and will feature Bob Fleming and the Cambria Iron Co., Cold Cream, LA Dies, Mama, the P-90’s, and True Lilith. Proceeds go to Winston-Salem Family Services.
Katei Cranford is a Triad music nerd who hosts the Tuesday Tour Report, a radio show that runs like a mixtape of bands touring NC the following week, 5:30-7 p.m. on WUAG 103.1fm.