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Wilmington businesses light up for Ladybug Festival 2024, featuring bands from around the globe

Delaware’s 100% woman-fronted music fest has announced its headliner, local acts, new venues and more — including a new festival this summer.

Ladybug Festival 2023 (Courtesy Gable Music Ventures)
Philly ska band Catbite will headline this year’s Ladybug Festival on May 31 in downtown Wilmington.

The annual free music festival that takes over the North Market Street area is not only the largest US festival that is 100% woman-fronted and multi-genre, it’s also an event that brings Wiimington’s small (and not-so-small) businesses together.

Since 2017, the festival, created by Wilmington’s Gable Music Ventures in 2012, has been presented by Chase, with sponsors including CSC, ChristianaCare and ShopRite, which all have presence in the Downtown/Riverfront areas of Wilmington. But it’s also the smaller businesses that bring it all together. For example, the recently-opened Huxley and Hiro bookstore on Market Street, which is a new venue for 2024, hosting several singer-songwriters.

This year’s Ladybug will be a one-day event, similar to last year’s, with an outdoor main stage and various other downtown venues, including Merchant Bar, The Queen’s Crown Bar, The Farmer and the Cow and the Quoin rooftop. Willingtown Square, part of the Delaware Historical Society, will again host an outdoor stage.

In all, over 30 acts from around the world will perform, including local artists Skyler Cumbia of Wilmington, and SWEETICE and Liz Watkins from Newark.

Other artists will include Kate Mills, Velvet Rogue and Humilitarian from Philly; Miss Cantaloupe and Joy & the Wildfire from NYC; Jenny Teator from Nashville; Tanya the Empress from Los Angeles; Rose Cora Perry & The Truth Untold from London, Ontario, Canada; Screaming Orphans from Donegal, Ireland and Laura Bourgeois from Paris, France.

 

The Festival starts at 4:30 p.m. at the Main Stage with a kickoff party featuring Queen HD The DJ from Baltimore (the official DJ of the Washington Spirit National Women’s Soccer League team); she will return to spin at the official after-party hosted at Stitch House Brewery at 10:30 p.m.

Throughout the evening, you can check out and support local businesses on Market Street, both brick and mortar and the festival’s street market vendors, including Little Italy’s Fusco’s Water Ice and local food trucks like Mojo Loco and Zaikka. Wilmington Whiskey Club is going to run the main bar at a yet-to-be-determined venue.

Official Ladybug Festival T-shirts will be printed by Market Street business Spaceboy Clothing, and Moonloop Photography’s Joe Del Tufo will capture the event in images.

Delaware businesses will be behind the scenes too: Electro Sound Systems, based in Newport, will run the sound systems for the Main stage and other larger stages. For the small stages, Gable looks to SoundGirls, a support network for women working in the audio industry.

“There is a chapter in Philadelphia that we’ve been working with for as long as I can remember,” Nathalie Antonov, creative projects and events manager for Gable Music Ventures, told Technical.ly. “SoundGirls is pretty awesome.”

If you’re missing the multi-day Ladybug Festival of the before times, good news — Ladybug is still held on multiple days, they’re just not in a row, and not in the same location. The festival is making another expansion this year, (Ladybug Milford, a fall event, launched in 2018), into Old Ellicott City, Maryland. The first Ladybug OEC will happen on June 29.

In the meantime, on June 22, The Ladybug Festival will present a 100% female-fronted evening Bryn Mawr Twilight Concert featuring Lizzie No, Samantha Rise and Roadshow Relics in Bryn Mawr, PA. 

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