BY OLIVIA DORFMAN
Music festivals are booming across the country, but the vast majority of acts still feature men. MidWay Music Festival is breaking that trend, giving female musicians more of a place on the stage.
Now in its second year, MidWay is a spin-off of the 2016 Bloomington Women in Music Festival, a one-time event founded by Alexi King, MidWay’s producer and coordinator. King was working a summer internship at Mid By Midwest Productions and says her boss, Josh Johnson, was instrumental in helping her get the 2016 event off the ground. Afterward, she looked into the statistics on women musicians at music festivals and was surprised at the dominance of male performers. That’s when she decided to create MidWay.
MidWay celebrates and connects women in music, offering promotion, empowerment, and performance opportunities. “We hope to create a safe space for musicians and women’s arts,” explains Rachel Glago, marketing director for the festival.
The name reflects the beneficiary of the 2016 event, Middle Way House (a regional domestic violence shelter), and the festival’s location in mid-America. This year’s festival will benefit My Sister’s Closet, an organization that helps women achieve economic self-sufficiency.
The festival will include a blend of local, regional, and national artists, and especially women performing on male-dominated instruments, such as drums. “Not just women as lead singers,” Glago stresses.
Performers and women in the industry will also conduct panel discussions about the music business. As Glago notes, even successful women musicians still face gender bias. “Once you’re in the industry, it doesn’t stop,” she says.
The family-friendly daytime festival begins at Third Street Park around noon on September 8, with performances, activity booths, merchandise, a wine and beer garden, and food trucks. At around 8 p.m., the festival moves to a club format at four downtown venues: The Players Pub, Blockhouse Bar, The Bishop, and The Back Door, with performances until 3 a.m.
Tickets are available as a daytime pass, single show, or for the entire day and night event.
For more information, visit midwaymusicfestival.org.