Ladyfest Manchester - Zion Arts Centre - Hulme (Mcr) - Sept 4th-7th

Ladyfest - a festival dedicated to women. A simple concept with a serious message. Inspired by the riot grrl era of the early 90s, Ladyfest aims to build a sense of community amongst female artists / musicians / activists with the focus clearly on the politics. Perhaps the clearest idea of where the festival is coming from is with the "Feminism - Past, Present And Future" panel which no doubt will look back to the likes of Valerie Solanas through to riot grrl and more recently strong independent women such as Ms Dynamite as well as the ideology behind it. "Women, Race And Identity" looks at the rise of the BNP and attacks on Asylum seekers from the view point of women in the heart of the situation - women between cultures and often living with the fear of constant attack. Very much seen as a female trait, the Self Harm Awareness workshop looks at the myths and misconceptions of the taboo subject.

If you're working or can't make it down to the panels and workshop the evenings entertainment showcases the best in "women-fronted" bands. With 25 bands playing over 3 days we'll be the first to admit we haven't heard all of them, but if what we have heard down here in an indication then expect a quality night out. Local bands Valerie and Hooker have been playing across the city for years and have built up small but dedicated followings. Until the last time we saw Valerie it didn't click for us, but they seem to finally taking the leap, writing the tunes and losing none of the attitude in the process. We Start Fires are perfect for the simple fact they sound like the best parts of Kenickie's first 2 albums and if justice prevails they'll be one of the highlights of ITC Unsigned 2003 a week after Ladyfest. Other bands well worth checking out are Lolita Storm, Flamingo 50, The Electroluvs and Girls On Top.

Tickets for the full weekend cost £30 with various tickets prices for individual days. For the full Ladyfest Manchester schedule and ticket details check out

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NB: Designer Magazine will be attending Ladyfest Manchester for at least one of the nights. However we are looking for people to send in their own reviews. Naturally you'll be credited etc Contact to register your interest in reviewing.