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Ladybug Festival is expanding to Milford in 2018

Delaware's second-biggest music festival keeps getting bigger.

The Ladybug Festival in 2016. (Courtesy photo)

While the Firefly Festival, with its massive acts, is definitely Delaware’s big music event (and some might say one of the few reasons out-of-staters visit Delaware, after the beaches and NASCAR, of course), the Ladybug Festival, originally created as a Downtown Wilmington block party with female acts for locals who couldn’t swing the high-priced tickets for Firefly, is becoming Delaware’s most influential.

Gable Music Ventures, founded by Gayle Dillman and Jeremy Hebbel in 2011, filled a void in Delaware’s music scene at a time when cover bands dominated and original musicians had few opportunities. They started by booking acoustic artists at businesses in LOMA, at joints like LOMA Coffee, Film Brothers (now located at The Mill), Zaikka (now Agile) and Extreme Pizza (now Chicky’s). They organized the popup Wilmo Rock Circus and partnered with World Cafe Live at The Queen for the Rockabilly Rumble.

World Cafe Live, which took over the newly-renovated Queen Theater the same year Gable started, bowed out of Wilmington last year. Which might have been a huge ding to Wilmington, but for the fact that Gable is thriving. Where World Cafe Live never quite got Wilmington, Gable has gotten it right.

Last year, the Ladybug Festival, which continues to feature female artists and female-fronted acts only and continues to be free, had its biggest year yet, with an additional day, The Grand getting in on it and attendance of 10,000.

And this year, for the first time, Ladybug is going downstate.

The Wilmington event will be on Market Street, as always, July 20–21. There will also be a show in Milford Sept. 22.

With an increase of musical acts coming in from out of state (and, in some cases, from out of the country), Gable aims to keep expanding the festival, says Chief Relationship Manager Bryce Fender.

The Ladybug Festival is currently accepting applications from female performers and female-fronted acts for 2018. Click here to apply.

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