Caitlin Blennerhassett and Halifax FemFest organizers had a key goal in mind as they planned this year’s celebration of local female talent: showcase diversity.
“We wanted to make it a celebration of community, of the LGBTQ community, of the female community,” says Blennerhassett, a Saint Mary’s University student and board member of the university’s women’s centre. In the past, FemFest was the finale to the annual Atlantic Waves Conference, a student-led women’s event. This year, they’re branching out on their own and making FemFest into a weekend-long celebration.
Friday and Saturday’s events take place at the Company House, a gathering spot for the city’s queer community.
Friday night’s entertainment lineup includes singers, spoken-word artists, drag kings and more. The evening caps off with a dance party. Saturday night is a showcase for local singer-songwriters, while Sunday’s main events are a craft fair featuring local artists and a singer-songwriter showcase.
“Everything happened by word of mouth,” says Blennerhassett. “I didn’t have to put out any ads or anything like that — everyone just sort of came together really naturally.”
She sounds excited as she describes the talent that is being showcased. “These are all people that are active in the community, whether it be in schools or in grassroots organizations. All of these people are real Haligonians!”
Blennerhassett feels that FemFest is filling a need because it is giving new artists a venue and showcase for their art.
“It is female focussed, but it’s not female exclusive by any means, it’s for anybody who wants to celebrate women,” she says. “We’re also giving women in the community who are perhaps lesser known a chance. We’re putting them all together, some really big names with some not-so big names.”
“It’s gonna be hot!” she says.
Fri, Nov 27, 8pm. The Company House, 2202 Gottingen St. An evening of entertainment hosted by poet and spoken word artist El Jones! with singer-songwriter Julie Lemieux, singer/songwriter Kate Surette, drag kings Ewan Love/Suspicious Packages, Elinor Crosby (Uber Wench), word artist-singer Vanessa Furlong, singer-songwriter Katey Day and dancing with DJ Ro. $10 and $6 for students and unwaged.
Sat, Nov 28, 7pm. The Company House, 2202 Gottingen St. An evening of entertainment hosted by El Jones!, featuring belly dancer Najet and musicians Heather and Chelsea, Gianna Lauren, Mary Stewart and Pamela Under Water. $10 and $6.
Sun, Nov 29, 10am to 6pm. North Street Church, 5657 North St. Craft fair, with 30 vendors and a female showcase of hour-long sets by Breagh Potter, Kate Surette, Nadia von Hahn and Dana Carly Andrews. Free admission.