SisterSpace Celebrates 35 Years of Women’s Music, Art and Community

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SisterSpace Celebrates 35 Years of Women’s Music, Art and Community

SisterSpace Weekend, one of the longest running women’s festivals in the country, is celebrating 35 years of empowering women through art, music, and education. SisterSpace began from humble beginnings with only a scattering of women at the first festival in 1977, and has evolved to attract hundreds of women annually to hear female musicians, attend workshops, swim, hike and connect with one another. This year the festival falls on the weekend of September 7th-9th and will feature renowned acts such as Voices of Africa and Mimi Gonzalez. 

Women’s music festivals began in the 1970’s as a way for women to meet each other—a welcomed alternative to the bars, coffeehouses and protest marches of the time, which were often the only opportunities for lesbians to meet one another. Festivals also offered a chance for women to showcase music that was otherwise inaccessible. The annual weekend, which was originally called the Lesbian Feminist Weekend (LFW), began as a self-defense weekend for women in 1977 in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains. Over the years, the event grew and evolved into the go-to event for generations of women to come together. It wasn’t until the late 1990’s that the current location was settled upon in the beautiful Brandywine Valley, just a short distance from the majestic Susquehanna River in rural Maryland. 

The weekend festival is produced by a diverse and dedicated group of volunteers, many of whom have been attending since its inception. Geri Mars, SisterSpace organizer and long-time attendee notes, “SisterSpace is a family. Many of us grew up together and have watched one another evolve along with the weekend. Each year is like a family reunion.” At the SisterSpace Weekend, women work together to build all of the entertainment stages, run the light and sound systems, maintain the campground facilities, serve as security and medical support, cook meals for hundreds and facilitate workshops covering various topics of interest to the attendees. Many attendees of SisterSpace or similar events agree that even a few days in a woman-only space is a life-changing experience. The event creates opportunities many women do not typically have year round. As one SisterSpace attendee commented “At the open mic, I actually got up and performed one of my original poems which is something I’ve wanted to do for years but never had the guts. I was inspired by all the other talented women sharing and I did it and I got a lot of support and great feedback from everyone and I feel so good about it!” 

Since SisterSpace Weekend is fortunate to have such a deep history and with 2012 being the 35th Anniversary, SisterSpace is planning a series of events to reconnect with women who have been a part of the organization’s history and invite new women to join. Jordan Pascucci, President of SisterSpace remarked, “I hope all women who have been a part of our past and those who want to be part of our future plan to attend the Weekend to help us continue the tradition and celebrate a very special 35 years.” 

SisterSpace Weekend is September 7th-9th, 2012 at Camp Ramblewood in Darlington, MD. Tickets go on sale in May and prices are on a sliding scale based on income and desired accommodations. SisterSpace is sponsoring a fundraiser entitled The Lavender Menace: A Women’s Tea Dance and SisterSpace Fundraiser on Saturday March 31st from 5-9p.m at iCandy located at 254 S. 12th Street in Philadelphia. There is a suggested donation of $10 however no one will be turned away for lack of funds.   For more information and tickets, check out at  www.sisterspace.org<http://www.sisterspace.org/>