Twenty years ago, Canadian musician Sarah McLachlan had a vision to create a festival comprised solely of female musicians and bands led by females. What resulted was the highest grossing festival tour of 1997, grossing $16 million. The tour boasted a lineup featuring McLachlan, the Indigo Girls, Jewel, Sheryl Crow, Paula Cole, Meredith Brooks, Tracy Chapman, Joan Osborne, Natalie Merchant and Suzanne Vega and proved that female musicians could draw crowds.
Enter Palace Theater Director Gia Palermo. She grew up in the Lilith era and felt strongly about the power this festival brought to female musicians. To that end, she embarked on an effort called Lilith fLair, happening at the Palace Theater in Syracuse Sept. 9. Her goal is to expose the talent of female musicians in Central New York while raising funds for Grammy Award winning musician Joanne Shenandoah, who is in need of a liver transplant.
Shenandoah will open the show accompanied by her sister Diane and daughter Leah. Shenandoah has been nominated for three Grammys and has won one. The Associated Press calls her, “America’s most celebrated and critically acclaimed Native American musicians of her time.” She is the recipient of 14 Native American Music Awards and is a founding member of the Hiawatha Institute for Indigenous Knowledge, a non-profit higher learning educational facility that is based on Iroquois principles.
Artists performing at Lilith fLair are women who write and perform their own original music, true to the Lilith tradition. Those performing include Ashley Cox of alt-rock duo Professional Victims, blues, pop and soul singer and multi-instrumentalist Jess Novak of the Jess Novak Band, Cait Devin, a solo artist and member of Cait Devin and Triple Threat, folk singer Gina Holsopple, folk musician Colleen Kattau, Riley Mahan, Kim Monroe, vocalist and guitarist for roots rockers Castle Creek , Peg Newell, Joanne Perry, Wendy Ramsay, singer-songwriter Amanda Rogers, R&B singer-songwriter Alani Skye and Jes Sheldon.
Tickets for the 7 p.m. show are $17 in advance and $22 at the door. VIP passes, which include a meet and greet with the artists pre-show, are also available for $40. You can purchase tickets online or in person at Soundgarden in Armory Square or at Syracuse Cultural Workers, 400 Lodi Street. All proceeds from VIP sales will go directly to Joanne Shenandoah’s cause.