Ladybug is back for the 11th year in downtown Wilmington Friday.

Women-led Ladybug Fest welcomes international musicians for 1st time

Jarek RutzHeadlines, Culture

Ladybug is back for the 11th year in downtown Wilmington Friday.

Ladybug is back for the 11th year in downtown Wilmington Friday.

After a decade of performances, an all-female music festival in downtown Wilmington meant to support women in the industry is getting an international twist. 

For the first time since its inception in 2012, Delaware’s Ladybug Music Festival will have three performances from musicians outside the U.S.

Canada’s Rose Cora Perry & the Truth Untold, France’s Laura Bourgeois and Ireland’s Screaming Orphans will take the stage. 

Gayle Dillman

Gayle Dillman

“We are excited that our reach is becoming much larger than just Delaware,” said Gayle Dillman, chief executive officer of Gable Music Ventures, a Delaware music business that organizes the festival each year.

Rose Cora Perry and her band are from London, Ontario. 

She said being the first international band booked for Ladybug is a really cool honor, and said she’s excited to rock out with Delawareans Friday.

“We love playing the States, we play the States quite frequently,” Cora Perry said, “and we came across Milford Ladybug Music Festival and applied just on a whim last year.”

Her and her band members never played in Delaware and figured it would be nice to try a new location, so they first played at the Milford event last year.

After going through the farmland and plains of rural Delaware and performing at the Milford show, Cora Perry said she eventually knew that “Delaware rocks.”

She’s the songwriter, singer and guitarist, and joined by her drummer and partner Tyler Randall as well as Jessie Taynton, who is the bassist and does backup vocals when they’re touring and playing live shows. 

After enjoying the Milford experience, the band was invited to the flagship festival in Wilmington. 

Besides the big milestone of bringing international talent in, the festival doesn’t have too many changes – just the usual attraction of a completely free experience with music for the whole family, food and drink vendors galore and a handful of different stages to listen to women jam out.

“We’re getting a lot of great support from all over the region, so it’s exciting to see people really engaging in what we’re doing with our messaging of supporting women in the music industry and trying to address the issues of gender and inequities in the music business,” Dillman said. 

There’s a new “Ladybug Brew” alcoholic drink feature this year, courtesy of Wilmington Whiskey Club

The festival started in 2012 in Wilmington, and has taken place in both Wilmington and the town of Milford for about half of the years it’s operated.

From left: Tyler Randall, Rose Cora Perry and Jessie Taynton. (Photo from

From left: Tyler Randall, Rose Cora Perry and Jessie Taynton. (Photo from

Another change this year: Ladybug has expanded to Old Ellicott City, Maryland.

About 4,000 people pack the streets for each festival. 

This year, it will only be in Wilmington and Old Ellicott City. Wilmington’s show is Friday, May 31, and lasts from about 4:15 p.m. to 10:15 p.m.

Cora Perry said the band was definitely behind the women-led theme of the festival. 

“I know myself, I’ve personally experienced sexism in the music industry in a variety of ways, so it’s just wonderful to have a platform for women, celebrating women and celebrating sisterhood,” she said, “and certainly not getting caught up in promoting cattiness either, because that’s something else that often happens when you’ve got strong female images in the entertainment industry.”

She describes her band as hard-rock alternative, and growing up in the ’90s, Cora Perry’s band is heavily influenced by the grunge era.

Here’s this year’s Ladybug schedule:

Screen Shot 2024 05 29 at 12.18.05 PM

The festival went virtual for 2020 and 2021, but has recovered strongly since. 

This year, 34 performers will be on the lineup ticket, with Catbite as the headliner at 9:15 p.m. Friday on the main stage.

To prepare for the festival, Ladybug curated a Spotify playlist featuring songs from all of the performers. Listen to it here.

Here’s a map of the eight stages that will shut down four blocks downtown at the 400 and 500 blocks of Market Street:

Screen Shot 2024 05 29 at 12.19.45 PM

Cora Perry said it feels like the media goes out of their way to stack the cards against women musicians, making them feel like they have to compete as opposed to making space for all and celebrating everyone’s differences and the beauty that they bring in creating a community and a sisterhood.

“A festival like this is so very, very valuable, that everybody’s being promoted on an even platform, and being promoted for the diversity that we’re all bringing forward in a variety of different ways as female musicians and as female performers,” she said.

She said the language with around women in the spotlight can be problematic.

“This festival is not using ‘female-first’ as a means of reducing us,” Cora Perry said. “So often you hear the words ‘female musician’ because you can’t just be considered a musician, it has to have a qualifier in front of it, which makes it seem like they’re less than.”

People don’t have to look far to confirm her sentiments.

In March, Iowa University phenom basketball player Caitlin Clark became the all-time Division I scoring leader, breaking the points record held by Louisiana State University’s ‘Pistol’ Pete Maravich for 54 years. 

Immediately, while many media outlets and sports pundits celebrated the achievement, others still qualified her record, saying that she’s the “women’s all-time college basketball scoring leader” rather than saying what she actually is – the all-time college basketball scoring leader.

Or, some pointed out that when Maravich played, there was no 3-point line, so Clark’s numbers are somehow inflated.

Ultimately, the praise outweighed the naysayers where it perhaps mattered most, and Clark was drafted number one in the WNBA draft in April – and signed a $28 million shoe deal with Nike, turning down several other multi-million offers.

“​​This festival is very, very much going against that concept,” Cora Perry said. “It’s kind of turning that on its head and saying no, this is all about amazing female musicians and this is why you should be part of this awesome community.”

For more information on the 2024 Ladybug Music Festival, click here.

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