Local Current Blog

FEMN Fest bringing music and education to Duluth with all-female lineup

Superior Siren perform at Island City Brewing, Winona, for Mid West Music Fest 2018. (Nathaniel Nelson for MPR)

When thinking back to last year’s inaugural FEMN Fest, co-producer Abigail Mlinar remembers there being “love in the room every night.” The Duluth festival returns Sept. 21-22 for its second year and includes a lineup of female-identifying musicians, educators, and vendors. It is an unconventional music festival that acts, in the words of Mlinar, as “an opportunity to experience something you never get to experience.”

There’s been a lot of buzz surrounding Brandie Carlisle’s newly-announced all-female festival lineup; Mlinar and her team are proving that this is not a new idea. Their festival provides a way to “dismantle your preconceived notions of what a music festival is.” Mlinar says.

Mlinar also has freelance business FEMN (For Events and Marketing Needs) which she started in December 2016 following the creation of her Feminist Action Collective; a non-profit that advocates for gender equity.”I started becoming known as a feminist activist in the area,” Mlinar says. As for FEMN Fest’s existence, that can be credited to the teamwork of Mlinar, Brittany Lind (founder of Ellipsis in Duluth), Melissa LaTour (director of Homegrown Music Festival) and Diona Johnson (therapist and educator).

“One of the cornerstones of the festival is that a lot of women don’t get the same opportunities as their male counterparts in the performing arts,” Mlinar explains. “We are trying to give a stage to those who haven’t had the same opportunities.”

The festival includes elements of music and education. There are workshops on embodied consent and parenting in the non-binary, as well as performances by musicians including Venus DeMars and Superior Siren. Vendors include women-owned businesses such as the jewelry company Fond of That and the bakery Cake Bandit.

“You can come here and be constantly entertained all day long,” Mlinar promises. The festival takes place at Sacred Heart Music Center and will spill out into the parking lot, alleyway, and nearby courtyard. Mlinar explains that it will feel like a larger music festival, “but our footprint is quite small. It’s easy to get around.”

One of the goals going into the second year of FEMN Fest is to make it more accessible, whether that be physically getting around the event, or monetarily. “This event isn’t worth it if we can’t allow every person to come,” Mlinar says. The FEMN Fest team are personally building handicap-accessible ramps for the festival, and their ticket prices have decreased since last year.  They have already announced some of their featured artists, and more announcements are to come every Thursday in August.

💋 FIRST ANNOUNCEMENT 💋Buy early bird tickets today: ticketf.ly/2mzzdMVMusicians:- Venus DeMars- Amy Abts- Good Night Gold Dust- Jamee Cornelia- The Von Tramps- Lunch Duchess- Adina Burke- Gender Confetti- Hanna Cesario- Mary Bue- Superior Siren- Nat Harvie Trio- FLOWTUSVendors: – Cake Bandit- Vaagen's Vegan Sauce & Ellen Crafty Vaagen – Fond of That- The L SpotWorkshopers:- Maureen Laufenberg & Kelsey Kreider Starrs- Terresa Hardaway- Rachel RehbeinBrought to you by:- Bent Paddle Brewing Co.- Duluth Homegrown Music Festival- Blackbird Revolt- Yarn Harbor – Planned Parenthood Duluth Clinic- Zeitgeist- Wolfskull CreativeStay tuned for the next announcement!More info: FEMNFEST.com

Posted by FEMN FEST on Thursday, July 19, 2018