Sleater-Kinney, Bratmobile On Board For Ladyfest Event

August art-and-politics confab aims to highlight women's contributions to culture.

A who's who of women in punk and indie rock will converge in Olympia,

Wash., in August for nearly a week of concerts, art shows, workshops and

activism.

The first-ever Ladyfest celebration will boast a roster of bands with

roots in the early-'90s riot grrrl movement, such as Sleater-Kinney and

Bratmobile, whose songs include "The Real Janelle" (RealAudio

excerpt). Also on hand will be newer groups spawned by that scene,

including the Bangs and the Butchies.

"Not just in punk, but [in] every music genre in the mainstream rock 'n'

roll world, women still are underappreciated, or valued only for things

like the way they look," Kaia Wilson, singer/guitarist for the Butchies,

said. "I'm biased, but I think we make some of the most incredible music."

Also confirmed for the Aug. 1–6 event are singer/songwriters Lois

Maffeo and Sarah Dougher, the Gossip, and Frenchie and the German Girls,

Ladyfest 2000 publicist Tristin Laughter said.

The recent popularity of heavily male-oriented bands such as Limp Bizkit

and Kid Rock, combined with the sexual assaults that took place at last

year's Woodstock festival, makes Ladyfest particularly timely, Laughter

said.

"The triumphant cock-rock reality of 1999 ... has really pushed the

boundaries back to where they were before the early '90s, before [political

correctness], before riot grrrl," she said.

Organizers are trying to involve women in every facet of the event,

including sound engineering, security and contracts. Dougher, one of many

people with a hand in planning Ladyfest, said fans should come ready to

jump into the action themselves.

"We're hoping to have opportunities for people to perform, to make art,

to document the event," said Dougher, whose Day One album includes

the cut "Hold the Bar" (RealAudio

excerpt). "This is not just a passive gathering."

The 12 months leading up to Ladyfest will have been some of the most

active in the underground women's music scene since the feminist-inspired

riot grrrl movement, which championed women's empowerment, particularly

in the punk community.

Last fall saw releases from Le Tigre (the new band from Bikini Kill singer

Kathleen Hanna), the Butchies and Third Sex. On tap for this spring and

summer are new discs from punk acts Sleater-Kinney, Bratmobile, the Bangs

and the Moves, as well as Dougher, the electronic duo the Need and Dougher's

'60s-pop-influenced band Cadallaca.