The Ladybug Music Festival, the largest celebration of women in music, returns to Wilmington next month with some exciting new offerings — including new musicians, a special Ladybug-themed craft beer and a ‘Bug Crawl’ on the second and final day of the event. The Rose Lager will be created in partnership with Stitch House Brewery and Mispillion River Brewing.
In addition to rolling out a craft beer, this year the free two-day festival – Thursday, July 18th and Friday the 19th– will include a pub crawl on the second day. The appropriately named, ‘Bug Crawl’ will begin in the afternoon at Bar Deco and end at Chickie’s Pizza.
The choice to move the event back to Thursday and Friday nights (last year the event was held on Friday and Saturday nights) was important to organizers who said they wanted to be responsive to local fans who missed the weeknight experience.
Now celebrating its 8th year, the two-day Ladybug Music Festival showcases up and coming artists whose musical styles vary from soul-rock, to R&B, jazz, and modern pop. Wilmington’s biggest block party has grown from twenty artists and an attendance of 300 in 2012 to an anticipated 100 artists and a crowd of 10,000 this year.
“We’re not closing the streets. We’re just going to have music in places like Stitch House, Farmer and the Cow, Merchant Bar, upstairs at The Queen, Christiana Cultural Arts Center and Chelsea Tavern. People will be able to walk from one end to the other,” Gayle Dillman, Ladybug cofounder, said.
Dillman kicked off the Ladybug Festival in response to the Firefly Music Festival in Dover, and her vision has evolved into the largest female-fronted music festival in the country.
“We wanted to give a stage for local musicians who were missing out at Firefly. We decided to name it Ladybug, in keeping the theme with bug names, not to mention it’s the state bug of Delaware,” Dillman said.
Artists from all over the country will perform over the two days at multiple locations on Market Street, with the majority of performances centered out-doors at the event’s main stage between Second and Fourth street. The complete lineup can be found on the Ladybug Festival website.
Thursday will remain in tradition with the Festival’s past block-party atmosphere, complete with a wide variety of local vendors and food trucks.
“It’s all good for the local economy. We want to get people to go into venues and buy from vendors that they normally wouldn’t,” Dillman said.
The Ladybug Festival was founded on the idea of bringing the community together, helping the local business community, and highlighting the under-represented female music scene.
“On average, music festivals include less than twenty percent of female performers. We’re addressing this inequality and offering a platform that is encouraging female artists to have a large audience who are completely supportive,” Dillman said.
The audition process for artists performing at the festival is highly competitive, according to Dillman. “Hundreds of performers apply for a very limited number of spots.”
This past year, The Ladybug Festival sparked traction across major musical media outreaches, including the widely influential, Billboard Magazine.
“It was amazing to be featured in Billboard. We’re helping to really put Wilmington on the map in a positive light and empowering women along the way,” Dillman said. Ladybug founders and attendees are looking forward to the festival’s ongoing success, foreseeing the event to occur for years to come.
“We have lots of plans for next year already,” Dillman said. “A variety of continued expansion in Wilmington, which I promise will be super exciting when announced.”