Back in March, Gable Music Ventures held out hope that the 2020 Ladybug Festival would go on as planned on Market Street in mid-July. But the team was also preparing for the possibility that they’d have to cancel the event for the health and safety of the artists and fans who have helped make Ladybug the nation’s largest celebration of women in music.
“It is tough to monetize virtual events when so many have no extra cash,” Gable cofounder Gayle Dillman said at the time. “We have been kicking around some ideas, but nothing definite yet.”
In April, they started holding one-hour virtual Ladybug events online Tuesdays and Fridays at 8 p.m., consisting of four artists steaming live from the Ladybug Festival Facebook page. These were free events, with attendees encouraged to Venmo the artists cash directly.
At that point, the planned Market Street version of the event had still not been canceled. Since that time, not only has COVID-19 not waned enough for a concert with thousands of attendees to be safe this summer, but the entire culture would shift as global protests launched in response to the murder of George Floyd and other Black victims of police brutality.
So, June 29 to 30, the all-digital Ladybug Festival will be held on GoPassage.com, with a new look that fits with the times, centering on host, brand ambassador and creative director Jamila Mustafa from Wilmington. Mustafa is a former Miss Delaware State University and HBCU advocate who founded the speaking tour HBCU 2 Hollywood and currently hosts MTV’s “Fresh Out Live” and “Fresh Out Playlist.”
Tickets for the show are $20, with donations encouraged. That’s a change from the outdoor festival that has been traditionally free, but the live music industry has been hit hard by the pandemic — and all things considered, the cost is a bargain.
Keri Hilson (“Knock You Down”) is headlining a roster of women from all over the country (plus Brazil), including Vanessa Carlton (“A Thousand Miles”) and KT Tunstall (“Suddenly I See”). Delaware artists scheduled include Alicia GoKu, Shannon Arianna, Hoochi Coochi, Zookie Baby, Maya Belardo, Lauren Kuhne and Lefty The Greatest.
Special guests include metal fashion artist Ellen Durkan of Iron Maiden Forge, Olympic soccer gold medalist Heather Mitts and Jennifer Behm, former Miss Delaware USA and winner of “MasterChef” season two.
For the full schedule, and to buy tickets, go to theladybugfestival.com.
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