6th ANNUAL LADYBUG MUSIC FESTIVAL
6th Annual Ladybug Music Festival
July 20-21, Market Street
Music radiated from the July-hot asphalt of Market last week, as more than a dozen venues were host to the 75 acts that came to play the sixth Ladybug Music Festival – Wilmington’s annual celebration of women in music. We caught up with the founders of Ladybug, Gayle Dillman and Jeremy Hebbel from Gable Music Ventures, after everyone recovered.
JEREMY: We created Ladybug as a free, local alternative to Firefly. That first year, we had about 300 people. There were no outdoor stages. Just 20 artists performing in five of the shops in LoMa (Lower Market). Here we are six years later, and Downtown Visions said we had 10,000 people.
GAYLE: Over the course of two days.
JEREMY: I attribute it to the fact that we had 75 great acts that were really excited and pushing it out to their fan bases. We had people in the audience who drove four hours, stayed overnight in hotels – to me, that's amazing. That's exactly what we're hoping for Ladybug, that we can start bringing in a lot of people from out of the city.
GAYLE: Every year that we’ve done Ladybug, we've increased the number of performances. This year was sort of the max amount that you can reasonably do within a five-hour time period.
JEREMY: Nah, we could have done more.
GAYLE: [exasperated noise] But we've tried to include as many genres of music as possible. And I think that's one of the appeals of the event. It's a celebration of women in music, in all kinds of different genres. We had some country. We had some bluegrass.
JEREMY: We had a barbershop quartet. A ‘70s Brazilian psychedelic rock band.
GAYLE: We had Maya Belardo for some jazz.
JEREMY: Plenty of folk music. Some hip-hop/funk fusion. We had garage punk bands come in from Brooklyn. The selection really ran the gamut. I'm trying to think if there's anything we didn't include. Maybe shoegaze or something.
GAYLE: We have an enormous creative community in Wilmington. Enormous. Not only musicians, but an incredible depth of talent for the amount of people who are in this area. We’ve got a great city. We've got a great place to be able to entertain people. But when you double the number of days of an event like Ladybug, which is what we did this year, well, I thought it was going to be very lightly attended on Friday and would catch on more next year. I was really taken by surprise at the amount of people who came out on Friday.
JEREMY: For the record, I was not surprised at all.
GAYLE: It think that people are eager to come into the city and feel like they're part of it in a way they know is safe and entertaining and fun. That final moment on Thursday night, just looking down Market Street with Larkin Poe playing and its all lit up and there are people dancing and you just sit back and go, wow, music really does bring people together and it's really cool.
JEREMY: The group that came in from Cuba, Vocal Clave de Soul, performing “Imagine” along with Halo, the barbershop quartet that came in from Washington… that was pretty amazing. And just seeing Angela Sheik on stage again, it's been way too long for me since I've seen her.
GAYLE: The proclamation [from the mayor] was way cool. I almost started crying. But I had no tears left at that point. The heat was very intense, to say the least. I think the tears were baked out of me.
Fun fact: The Lady Bug became the state bug of Delaware on April 25, 1974, after what the state calls “an intensive effort on the insect's behalf by Mrs. Mollie Brown-Rust and her 2nd grade students of the Lulu M. Ross Elementary School in Milford, Delaware” – and if you were in that class, we so want to talk to you. Send us emails.