BY VIRGINIA STILL
The first Northern California Women’s Music Festival will hit the Prospect Theater on K Street in Modesto on Oct. 18.
Singer, songwriter, founder and director Victoria Boyington got the idea a few years ago to have an all-women music festival when she was watching a show about Gloria Steinem. During the show they discussed how Steinem developed Ms. Magazine and then mentioned the National Women’s Music Festival. Boyington had always wanted to attend the national event but didn’t want to travel to the East Coast. The program then made a quick mention of Lilith Fair. This initiated the idea that it would be great to have something like the Lilith Fair in Northern California.
“I don’t know why California doesn’t have a women’s music festival,” stated Boyington. “I started mulling the idea around with some of my musician women friends and a lot of them really liked the idea.”
So after filling out all the paperwork for the non-profit organization, Boyington was on her way to create the first all-women musical event in the area.
“I put together this committee of women and I am very, very, thankful to the committee of women that I have because I have a lot of really strong minded women who have a focus on community and so I think together we make a really good team,” stated Boyington.
The NSWMF organization is a non-profit group that was created to provide resources that support women with programs that can enrich and better their lives. The organization would like women in the community to be able to actively seek positions of leadership and advance in the arts, business, music, and film.
The festival will include a concert from female artists or women-led bands including Deborah Yate, Marirose Powell, Sandra Dolores, The House of Orange, Francesca Bavaro, Karmen Buttler, Rachel Efron, Funstrummers, and many more.
“We have a good chunk of women that are local but we also have some women that are coming from Santa Cruz, we have three really great and talented musicians that are coming from San Francisco,” said Boyington. “We have another woman who is coming from Sacramento and one other woman that was from Fresno that moved to Oregon that will be coming here to perform.”
The band can have men playing guitar, bass, or the drums but it has to be a woman leading the band, Boyington noted.
Along with the concert will be a songwriting contest that Patty Castillo Davis, NCWMF songwriting chair, will be administering. Anyone can participate in the contest and all they need to do is submit an original piece of music and a $10 entry fee. The winner of the songwriter contest will receive recording studio hours with Brenda Frances at Modesto Sound and a cash prize. The winner will also have the opportunity to perform her song at the music festival.
There will also be art, poetry, and light refreshments at the event. Women of any age can submit a poetry entry with the prompt, “What do you love about yourself, as a woman?” on the NSWMF website.
Five of the submissions will be chosen and will be matted and displayed at the festival, all other entries will be entered into a book.
The winner of the art contest will have her art displayed on the cover of the poetry book and all the other artists will have their art featured inside.
“That way everybody is getting a chance to contribute and nobody really is a winner necessarily but we are all celebrating each other’s work,” stated Boyington. “We have a number of really talented local area artists that will have their artwork on display and for sale at our festival.”
At the event there will be approximately 10 women vendors with tables set up, such as the Haven Women’s Center of Stanislaus that will have information on hand.
The NCWMF organization will contribute 5 percent of the proceeds to the Women’s Haven Center and the remaining profits will go to an Enrichment Grant that will provide funding to local women of all ages for activities like swimming, dance, self-defense, music, along with purchasing instruments and art supplies.
“Everybody was definitely in agreement about giving to that organization since they do so much to help women in the community,” said Boyington. “Anything that can enrich the lives of women in our community.”
Boyington expressed that it took a team of people to make this event happen and that she would be crazy to try to pull it off on her own.
The event will be held from 5 p.m. until 11 p.m. Oct. 18 at the Prospect Theater, 1214 K St., in Modesto.
This will be the first event for the NCWMF organization and discussions have already begun for next year’s music festival that will support enrichment programs to benefit the lives of women of all ages in the community.