Recipe for a Solid Rock Summer

by Letta Tayler (staff writer)

[Sarah's picture is in the o of solid, and she has her short haircut. The caption: Singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan has put together an all-woman jamboree.]

Sarah McLachlan has nothing against men. Recently, she married one. But she's fed up with watching the testosterone set hog the headliner slots at summer rock festivals.

To address the gender imbalance, the Canadian singer-songwriter has organized the Lilith Fair, a traveling summer festival whose rotating roster includes many of the glove's hottest female soloists or female-fronted bands.

"This is not at all about dissing men." McLachlan said of the 35-stop fair, which arrives July 25 at Jones Beach with a cast including Tracy Chapman, Joan Osborne, Fiona Apple, the Cardigans, and McLachlan herself. "It's simply a celebration of women's music, something that's suffered in the music industry."

With Lilith tickets selling furiously and more performers jumping on the roster every week (Jewel, Shawn Colvin, Suzanne Vega and Sheryl Crow are now among them), promoters are hailing McLachlan's all-female fest as the greatest invention since sliced bread. McLachlan finds the praise gratifying and somewhat amusing.

"When I was touring three years ago and wanted to put Paula Cole on the bill with me, promoters were saying We can't put two *women* on the bill.'" McLachlan recalled in a telephone interview from her home in Vancouver, B.C. "Now the climate has changed dramatically."

McLachlan's all-woman jamboree isn't the only sign of a changing musical climate. After more than a decade of drought, multiband, outdoor rock fests are flooding the summer entertainment market. This summer promises the largest number of rock fests in recent history, with at least 10 musical cavalcades descending on Long Island and the greater New York City area before Labor Day.

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Thanks to Mylan of the mailing list for typing out the relevant portion of this article.

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