InFested: An interview with Paige Beller, organizer of Ladyfest 2015, Dayton, Ohio

Ladyfest 2015, which takes place in Dayton, Ohio, brings together and inspires people through music, art, and education. While the festival itself is a celebration of women in the arts, they provide a safe and welcoming environment no matter your gender identity.
On top of enjoying some of the best live music from Dayton and its neighbors, attendees make a direct contribution to the community.  Past Ladyfests have benefitted PUSH DaytonArtemis Center, and Planned Parenthood. This year, they will be donating a bulk of the proceeds to WE CARE ARTS.
The event takes place at Yellow Cab, 700 E. 4th Street, August 28 and 29.
Ghettoblaster Magazine recently spoke with event organizer and one of the performers schedule for the event, Paige Beller about the undertaking.
What is the goal of Ladyfest?
The goal of Ladyfest is to unite the community in a mutual appreciation of women in the arts, and to raise funds for local charities in our community. This year the proceeds will go to We Care Arts.
What should people expect from the event?
People should expect  to be overstimulated! We will have over 30 musical acts, including bands, acoustic acts and dance. There will also be poetry, comedy, vendors, food trucks, an adults and children’s fashion show, and a visual art show that will span both days and feature 19 local artists.
Who curated the lineup for the event?
Acts for this year’s Ladyfest were brought in by myself (Paige Beller) and Gretchen Kelly. Mary Katherine Burnside brought in our dancers and is also curating the fashion shows for the event.
What other activities will take place at Ladyfest?
Vendors, food trucks, beer, visual art, fire spinning, and Gem City Podcast will be there interviewing bands and attendees. There will also be ton of educational information floating around, be it in the form of pamphlets, zines, or representatives of local organizations. I just received word today that We Care will be on hand Saturday to do art projects with kids!
Is this a family-friendly event?
Both days will be family friendly, and kids under 12 are free with adult admission. The acts have been staggered throughout the day to make sure that the kids can come out, and when the sun goes down the adults can start the party! During the day Saturday we will be featuring some of our young local talent in the form of “A-Minor Student Showcase” where young women taking guitar lessons from one of our other performers (Kyleen Downes) get to show off what they’ve learned. Clash Dayton has put together a childrens fashion show as well. Plus there will be lots of amazing female role models on the grounds. Children can come and be inspired by the amazing artwork that surrounds them in our city.

Proceeds from the event go to We Care Arts?  What is your relationship with the organization and how will this benefit them?

I found out about We Care Arts through the work they did with The Motel Beds on their album cover. Gretchen brought them up at one of our meetings, and we instantly knew it was the right choice. I just had the chance to meet with one of their main people organizers there, and they really are doing wonderful things. They will receive all of the proceeds from ticket sales after expenses. My biggest challenge as an organizer is to try and keep costs as low as possible, which has actually been surprisingly easy. As soon as I bring up the name We Care Arts, people jump at the opportunity to lend equipment or hand.

There is also a raffle to benefit Planned Parenthood, right?
Correct. Inside there will be a separate raffle both days that will benefit Planned Parenthood. “We Care” was definitely a conscious decision in the fact that is crosses all gender/religious/political lines and focuses on the community as a whole. That being said, Ladyfest has always been about supporting women and celebrating women. We believe that Planned Parenthood is an important partner in women’s health. Healthy women, healthy world. We also understand that not everyone agrees with Planned Parenthood, and the beauty of this is that you can still come and choose to opt out of the raffle while still contributing to a great cause and enjoying some of the local area’s finest talent.
Is this the fifth year of the event?  Why hasn’t there been one in recent years?
Putting together an event of any size takes a tremendous amount of time and effort. I can personally say that I was definitely over ambitious this year because of the gap. I really wanted to make it a blow out! But based on the amount of time I’ve spent (not to mention the lack of sleep), it’s totally understandable how something of this magnitude could fall to the wayside. It is 100% volunteer run, and the only real return to anyone is the satisfaction of handing over a (hopefully) comically large check to the charity at the end of it all. People begin with good intentions, but life has a habit of getting in the way. I am very proud of what we as a team (Sara George, Lisa Bird, Jessica Holt, Gretchen Kelly, Mary Katherine Burnside, Rachael Lare, Lily Whitehead, Amy Burchette, Whitney Marie, Adam Rohr, Eric Liddic, countless others…) have put together in a short amount of time. It’s been a huge learning experience, and I can safely say I’ve screwed up everything I could have screwed up. Kidding, of course. There’s still plenty of time for me to screw up!       
What about the event are you most excited about?

I will be most excited if it doesn’t rain. My summer has been filled with stress dreams of protestors and rain. I am also really excited about some of the bands we’ve got lined up. Babe Rage, Jaynes Sachs Band, Good English, Sharon Lane, SMUT, Eye Swatter….and on and on and on and on….

Why is it important that Dayton supports this event?

If somehow you are not into ANY of the MANY, MANY things we have over the two days,  I will direct you to . Watch the videos on their website and see the interviews of the people they are helping every day. That alone is worth the price of admission.
(Ladyfest 2015 is all ages. children under 12 free with adult admission.

More information is available here: