McLachlan building a 'sense of community' with Lilith Fair
From Correspondent Sherri Sylvester
Web posted on: Monday, June 29, 1998 4:05:59 PM EDT
PASADENA, California (CNN) -- So what will Lilith Fair do for an encore? Fans across the country are starting to find out as the all-female tour hit full-steam with a sweep through Southern California over the weekend.
The tour is the brain-child of singer/songwriter Sarah McLachlan, who was spurred into action two years ago after she was told no one would pay to see more than one woman on the same concert bill.
In a move that would defy the illogic of the music industry, she founded Lilith Fair, a by-women, for-women declaration of independence. Lilith, named after the mythical character who left the Garden of Eden to walk the Earth looking for adventure, became the hottest concert attraction around.
This year, Lilith hopes to take that popularity further as dozens of musicians rotate through the 57 concert dates. The roster includes The Indigo Girls, Shawn Colvin, Natalie Merchant and Paula Cole, with McLachlan playing the entire tour.
Filling a vacancy
Cole, a regular on the all-female tour, is not surprised by the show's popularity.
"There was a vacancy and a need for women to support each other in music, in business, in life," Cole says.
McLachlan, however, balks at the show being pigeon-holed as a feminist event.
"It's a musical tour, first and foremost, but at the same time, there are amazing benefits that are coming out of this that are very feminist-inspired," she told CNN.
"Just the fact that we have proven to the industry -- to a very male-dominated industry -- that women are and can be very successfully and are doing very well on their own, thank you very much, and we don't have to have men backing us up or men opening up for us," she says.
$16 million, and counting
There are economic benefits as well.
Last summer, the fair's first, it outstripped the mostly male festivals on the road, grossing more than $16 million.
Lilith's projected 1998 ticket take exceeds $25 million, a dollar from every ticket going to women's charities. Now corporate sponsors are climbing aboard the bandwagon.
Singer/songwriter Bonnie Raitt is amazed at how the industry has responded to Lilith.
"Sarah and the women did an incredible thing last year, and I don't think the music business will ever be the same," Raitt says.
For McLachlan, the benefits are more personal.
"To be able to create a sense of community for the women in the industry, for my peers, to be able to listen to all this amazing music and to partake in it, to be able to sing with some of these women, is really amazing," she explains.
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