Music, liberty and learning

Local women rock for feminism

ABy Adrienne Urbanski All-female music festivals are nothing new.

Flavors include the back-to-nature scene of the long-running, clothing-optional Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, the mainstream women empowerment of Lilith Fair and more recently the indie rock of Ladyfest. However, other than a few stops by Lilith Fair, Minneapolis had been ignored by women’s music festivals until this summer.

Local all-female band Eufio became inspired after performing at and attending a number of Ladyfests. After the original Ladyfest three years ago, the name was opened up to anyone putting on a female-dominated music festival, causing many grass-roots shows to pop up.

Eufio’s members became annoyed that there was never a Ladyfest in Minneapolis and decided to start their own. Shake the Lakes was born.

“We didn’t want to call it simply Ladyfest or even something like Estrofest, because that implies that it’s only open to white middle-class girls in their 20s,” said Jenny Hanson, Eufio’s lead singer and guitarist. “Shake the Lakes also refers to the workshops featured.”

Much like the original all-female music fest blueprint created by the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, Shake the Lakes put a strong emphasis on their workshops. Among the many workshop titles was: “Sea Sponge Revolution: Alternative Methods to Menstruation Products.” Attendees to this workshop received a ‘zine-style workbook to help them evaluate the menstrual products they choose to use and which options might work best for them. The Babylon Art Center was transformed into a feminist environment through the use of large hand-markered posters proudly featuring the female symbol. The programs, press and staff passes, and posters were all carefully hand-colored by the organizers with crayons and colored yarn, making them resemble ambitious Girl Scouts rather than impassioned activists.

Since Eufio is composed of two current University students and one recent graduate, they had no problem enlisting the help of other University students and organizations. The University’s Women’s Student Activist Collective decided to sponsor the show and also set up a table in the Babylon’s lobby to seek out new members and sell reusable menstrual pads. Smitten Kitten, a feminist sex shop run by three recent University women’s studies graduates, also set up a table.

Of course the festival included women-empowered sets performed by Eufio, Heads and Bodies, The Keepaways, Thoughtcloud and Luke’s Angels. During each set the performers hyped the following acts and frequently made reference to the growing number of all-female bands in the Twin Cities area.

Each artist also decided to forgo the collection of any profits from ticket sales, and to donate the money made to the Welfare Rights Committee. “We’ll try to do this annually, if we can afford it,” Eufio’s Kim Kopischke said.

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