Len Webb decided to start a podcast festival in honor of his mother’s dream: to open a nail salon for women, with male employees. She hoped her fantasy spa, which she would have named Him for Her, would allow women to be pampered by men while teaching men to appreciate women instead of objectifying them.
“I thought that this was my way of making my mom’s dream come true,” Webb said, “and thus was born the podcast festival.”
The creator of the geek culture-focused Black Tribbles podcast is the mastermind behind the inaugural RESPECT: Women’s Podcast Festival (not to be confused with the seventh annual Philadelphia Podcast Festival, held this past July).
The event, which will be held at Black Tribble co-host Ariell Johnson’s Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse from Aug. 23 to 25, features live shows of local women podcasters and a few out-of-town favorites.
The schedule includes the voices behind “FBI Retired Case File Review,” “Sex with Timaree” and “World Stealers” with an additional performance by local band Johnny Popcorn. There will also be a screening of five short films by women directors.
“I’m just trying to celebrate all the amazing content and diversity that women are putting out into the podcast space that generally doesn’t get celebrated as much as it should,” Webb said. “It was my idea to do it because being a podcaster myself, there are a lot of women podcasters that weren’t being celebrated as much as they should have been.”
Gabe Castro and Kat Kushin are the hosts of “The Ghouls Next Door,” a weekly podcast they describe as unpacking the lesser-discussed parts of horror such as body modification, minority representation and love. They’re performing at 3 p.m. on Saturday, their fourth live show in their two years as podcasters.
“[Women podcasters are] out here, we’re loud, we’re fun, we’re educated, we are multi-faceted,” Castro said. “Essentially, there’s something for everyone and if you come you might find your new favorite podcast, might find a new best friend or you might learn something you never even thought you’d be interested in.”
Webb hopes this festival can encourage more communication among podcasters. He wants to see more podcasters feature one another on their shows and for larger shows to promote smaller ones, just as Black Tribbles has done for the Ghouls.
“Something I would like to see is a little more cross-promotion of the podcasting community,” Webb said. At other festivals, “a lot of shows have their own fan spaces and you won’t see a lot of podcasters reach out and attend other shows or talk about being a guest or doing things together. That’s one of the things I’ve tried to be very diligent about.”
Most of the fest is free to attend, but a portion of the proceeds from nighttime events will be donated to the Philadelphia School Partnership, Teach PHL and Donors Choose. Find tickets and more info about the festival here.
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