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Soundcheck Smackdown: Lilith Fair

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

This summer marks the return, after an 11-year hiatus, of Lilith Fair - the all-female music tour co-founded by Sarah McLachlan. Featuring artists like glam-soul diva Janelle Monae, pop princess Ke$ha, and indie-rock sister act Tegan and Sara, the festival has come a long way from its roots in adult-contemporary folk. But ticket sales have been sluggish, leading to a dozen canceled shows. In the age of Beyonce and Lady Gaga, is Lilith Fair still relevant?

Washington Post pop critic Chris Richards joins us for an update on the state of the touring industry. Then, Marisa Meltzer, author of Girl Power: The Nineties Revolution in Music, and Amanda Hess, writer of the Washington City Paper column "The Sexist," debate the necessity of Lilith Fair in a Soundcheck Smackdown.

The Playlist:

1. Rihanna - S.O.S

2. Sarah McLachlan - Building A Mystery

3. Kelly Clarkson - Since U Been Gone

4. Sarah McLachlan - Angel

5. Paula Cole - Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?

6. Joan Osbourne - One of Us

7. Cat Power - Nude As The News

8. Mary J. Blige - The One

9. Carly Simon - You're So Vain, 2009 Version

10. Sarah McLachlan - Loving You Is Easy


Amanda Hess, Marisa Meltzer and Chris Richards

Comments [19]

AB from Detroit from Detroit

They need to lose the name, look up the definition for Lilith.

They need to rename it women for women concert.

Jul. 14 2010 02:26 PM
12-String Frank from Staten Island, NY

I like women artists like Annie Haslam of Renaissance and Lana Lane. These singers are in the progressive rock camp. Why can't these artists or type of artist be represented at Lilith Fair? Why does this festival have to have artists that I can't tolerate like Tegan & Sara, Ms. McLaglan herself, Cat Power, and especially Ingrid Michaelson? These artists should artists are torture. The military should play them for captured Al-Qaeda members. Maybe we'll find out the whereabouts of Osama.

Jul. 13 2010 02:52 PM
a g from n j

very valid point j from b,there is also the restrictions on men not behaving in a traditionally "macho" way. once famous,you can be a virile foppy-macho,aka mick jagger. but on the way up gender stereotyped behavior is still a hang up with and around men.

Jul. 13 2010 02:48 PM
j from b

Younger women have a tendency to be entirely embarrassed of anything explicitly labeled "feminist" or "women only". The more interesting question than the specificities of Lilith Fair's lineup, is the ongoing issues of gender inequity in the arts, which is variable between genres and mediums but NEVER, EVER absent - and why it has become so awfully embarrassing, that territory just shy of absolute taboo.

Jul. 13 2010 02:39 PM
Ted in Atlanta from Design Dept.

I guess this year being the "right" year for reviving a tour is perhaps as a result of the inability to make money in music any other way than touring. I agree the Lilith Fair name is loaded to a certain audience, even though it looks to be a very diverse lineup. And hey, how come this Kelly Clarkson just flat out bailing sounds like she's getting a pass? I don't know if she is important enough to make or break a tour, or thought she was - certainly not to me - but I think that is kind of childish if she doesn't have some decent reason for leaving.

Jul. 13 2010 02:35 PM
Jason from Jersey City

I wouldn't go to Lilith if you paid me. Painful. Crap then. Crap now.

Jul. 13 2010 02:34 PM
Emm from Ridgewood

Boring. It's modern times everyone... let's have diversity of sexes, music styles, colors, ethnicities...

Jul. 13 2010 02:33 PM
silbin sandovar from Long Island City, NY

I'm shocked that Lilith Fair is struggling!

I think this the current line up is the coolest yet. It's much more diverse. Everyone from Loretta Lynn to Mary J Blige to Cat Power to Ingrid Michaelson to Tegan and Sara...

I'm sure it's a PR problem--until i took a look at the site i had NO idea that so many great women are playing!!

This male musician and music fan would be thrilled to catch these artists!

Jul. 13 2010 02:33 PM
Cynthia from long island

What's wrong with rescuing animals?Would it better if she sold the song to sell freaking tampons?

Jul. 13 2010 02:32 PM
a g from n j

is there something a little creepy about women of necessity having a commonality,simply based on gender determinism?

Jul. 13 2010 02:32 PM
Boss Tweed from UES

Aren't there other genres that need a women's movement more? What about all-women jazz festivals? Or women composers? Shouldn't they have a festival of some kind? Those areas are far more male dominated...

Jul. 13 2010 02:30 PM
Cynthia from long island

Doesn't grouping them all together make them more of a novelty?

Jul. 13 2010 02:27 PM
Sara from Bushwick

First off, 'Lilith Fair' sounds like a renaissance fair; but really, didn't McLaughlin enter the arena of permanent schlock with those late night save the animal ads?

Jul. 13 2010 02:25 PM
Chriss from Montclair

I went to Lilith back in the day.

These women sounds WAY TOO young to have any real understanding of Lilith beyond being a "relic" of a "cheesy" past that their parents enjoyed.

The problem with Lilith is that is was gone for too long. And unlike Woodstock, it was never romanticized.

So it returns, who cares??

Jul. 13 2010 02:23 PM

Is Lilith Fair suffering perhaps because it holds so fiercely to an all female, or at least predominently female lineup? I'm pretty sure there are plenty of bands of all types regardless of gender that would be willing to be part of something that gives money to women's causes.

Jul. 13 2010 02:21 PM
Cynthia from long island

Relic then. Relic now. The whole idea of having a show full of women just because they are women is the opposite of empowering. Just make good music. Being good at what you do is empowering.

Jul. 13 2010 02:20 PM
a g from n j

okay,my question is mute,you side stepped my proposition by having two

Jul. 13 2010 02:18 PM
Eric from manhattan

There is no debate what the problem is: tickets from ticketmaster get sold out within 3 minutes and then you have to pay a premium to get seats on stubhub. If you don't get on ticketmaster the SECOND they go onsale you can forget about gettting tickets to any decent show.

Jul. 13 2010 02:09 PM
a g from n j

just wondering if you are going to do the "tired and perfunctory" pc cutsie thing of having a guy for, and a gal against lilith fair.

Jul. 13 2010 02:07 PM

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