Femme Wave gets bigger in its fourth year
The local feminist music and arts festival Femme Wave has gotten bigger every year.
“We just kind of keep growing it in every way we can,” says coartistic director and co-founder Kaely Cormack.
This year, the festival’s fourth, it has added literary programming to its usual mix of music, art, comedy and film.
The festival’s opening night at Dickens Pub on Nov. 15 features spoken word and comedy from the likes of Calgary poet laureate Sheri-D Wilson and Amy Edgar; films written, directed or produced by women; and music by Body Lens, Polly Dactic and Natmi.
The festival also features on Nov. 17 a live podcast taping for the show Hot Takes with Hot Dykes by Seattle comedy duo Clara Pluton and Val Nigro and feminist hip-hop karaoke, both firsts for the festival.
“People can sign up ahead of time, you have to memorize all the words to your feminist hip-hop song,” says Cormack. “There will be a backing track, we’ve got a DJ that’s hosting it. You get to rap and show off to a very pleasing audience, I’m sure.”
There will also be the return of workshops, an annual part of the festival’s programming. Attendees need to register in advance, but can attend the workshops, which include design, writing, and zinemaking, for free.
“We think if we’re going to be showcasing art, it’s important to
give people the tools to create their own art and encourage more people to be creating art in the scene rather than just going and seeing it,” says Cormack.
Other notable musical acts performing include Mint Record’s electronic act Kellarissa; Calgaryraised, but now Vancouver-based, hip-hop artist Lowkita; and Too Attached, the sibling duo of Vivek Shraya and Shamik Bilgi.
“(Shraya)’s an author, she just put out a book called I’m Afraid of Men that’s really doing well and blowing up the literary charts,” says Cormack.
Cormack feels the festival has had a positive impact on the city’s local scene. “We’ve seen a lot more safer spaces, so that’s been really cool to see that pop up,” she says.
“I think a lot of show bookers and venue managers are really aware of gender parity in their bookings now,” she adds.
“We’re seeing a lot of people we program, maybe we’ve never seen them before, but after they’ve played Femme Wave, we’ve seen a lot of opportunities open up for them. I think it’s cool we’re opening doors for people that maybe wouldn’t have gotten noticed otherwise.”
Author Vivek Shraya.
Femme Wave co-founders Hayley Muir and Kaely Cormack say the festival opens other doors for performers
2017 Femme Wave headliner Sammus is performing.