Ladybug partners with local brewers to create a festival-branded beer

This year's festival returns to the Thursday-Friday format and will feature a "Bug Crawl."

Larkin Poe playing the 2017 Ladybug Festival.

(Photo courtesy of Moonloop Photography)

The 2019 Ladybug Festival — the country’s largest female-fronted music festival, according to cofounder Gayle Dillman — returns on July 18 and 19 with a little bit of the old and a little bit of the brand new.

Some of the new: a Ladybug-themed craft beer created in partnership with Wilmington’s Stitch House Brewery and Milford’s Mispillion River Brewing. (Milford is the home of Ladybug’s downstate festival, happening September 21.)

Last year’s (totally free!) fest brought artists from all over to Wilmington, including L.A. rocker Lauren Ruth Ward, British pop-punk queen Bronnie and Brooklyn’s The Rizzos, with a buzz so strong, it was written up in Billboard magazine.

There have been changes made over the years to the festival, which essentially started out in 2012 as a Lower Market block party for locals and artists who were missing out on the massive Firefly Festival in Dover. In 2017, Ladybug added a second day to the traditionally Thursday-evening event, and last year, it shifted from Thursday and Friday to Friday and Saturday.

“Most people seem to prefer it on a Thursday, and we want to be reflective of what the community wants,” said Dillman, whose Gable Music Ventures created Ladybug. “So July 18 from 5 to 10 [p.m.] is the first day.”

Thursday will be the traditional Ladybug “block party” setup, with an outdoor stage located on Market Street between Second and Fourth streets, featuring plenty of vendors and food trucks.

Last year’s Day Two Ladybug activity centered primarily around The Queen featuring the headliners. This year, while The Queen will still be a venue, it will change to a crawl format.

“Friday’s what we’re calling the ‘Bug Crawl,’ from DE.CO to Chickie’s Pizza” at Second and Market, said Dillman. “We’re not closing the streets, we’re just going to have music in places like Stitch House, Farmer and the Cow, Merchant Bar, upstairs at The Queen, Christina Cultural Arts Center and Chelsea Tavern. People will be able to walk from one end to the other.”


All in all, there will be 101 acts this year — including, Dillman said, a special Ladybug headliner created just for the event.

To see a detailed list of the artists being featured at this year’s Ladybug Festival, keep an eye on its website.

“We as a state and a local community are working together to differentiate ourselves and to do some really cool, interesting things,” said Dillman. “We’re proud to be able to bring businesses that are small businesses like ourselves and elevate them.

“It’s all good for the local economy. We want to get people to go into venues that they normally would not go into. Or maybe They’ve thought about it, but didn’t have a good enough reason. So, we’re creating that reason.”

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