Rainbow Riverfest 2012, the Pride of Western Mass., is an all-inclusive festival to be held Saturday, September 22, at the Holyoke Canoe Club on the banks of the Connecticut River, with special guests Melissa Ferrick, featured in Curve, Go, and Out magazines, and Bitch, heard in Showtime’s hit series “The L Word” and seen in the film, “Shortbus”.
Other performers include Dani Shay, a finalist featured on “America’s Got Talent” and “The Glee Project”, Sister Funk, Karen Grenier and more.
“The aim of our festival is bringing together people from all walks of life, including young people, who we hope are able to safely experience the LGBTQA community for the first time,” said Suzanne Seymour, the LGBT Coalition’s Executive Director. “Our Riverfest blends music and comedy with unique concepts, including a healing Zen Zone for body, mind, and spirit, as well as the Youth Tent, where young people can connect through innovative workshops and uniting activities.”
This year, Riverfest workshops in the Youth Tent will include Learn to Zumba!, Line Dancing 101, Suicide Prevention information, as well as healing workshops, free massage, acupuncture and spiritual support in the Zen Zone area. Select entertainers will also appear in the Youth Tent to share their personal and inspirational coming out stories.
Emily Scagel, LGBT Coalition Board Member, stated, “Feedback received from youth participating in last year’s festival stated that Riverfest allowed them to realize the many positive opportunities that await them. It is our hope that we achieve this not only for them, but for everyone in attendance.”
Chely Wright in Wish Me Away
The Riverfest weekend starts out Friday evening with a film screening of “Wish Me Away” starring country-western singer Chely Wright, at the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton at 8 p.m.
“Chely Wright showed great courage in coming out as a lesbian while at height of her career in the country music industry, an industry that has not been supportive of LGBT rights,” said Debra J’Anthony, Executive Director of the Academy of Music. Chely Wright is the first commercial country music singer to come out as gay, shattering cultural stereotypes within Nashville. The film shows both the devastation of internalized homophobia and the transformational power of living an authentic life. Special guest Karen Grenier, one of the Riverfest’s featured performers, will be welcoming the crowd and performing before the film.
Diva’s Nightclub will be sponsoring the official Rainbow Riverfest afterparty, with doors opening at 8 p.m. for 18+. A special meet and greet with The Glee Project’s Dani Shay will be held later in the evening, along with a drag king performance. Reduced admission for 21+ with a Riverfest wristband will be honored at the door, with entrance to the Dani Shay VIP section.
The LGBT Coalition of Western Mass. sponsors many community events, including the area’s first National Gay-Straight Alliance Day event, held in Springfield, “Loving Your Gay Teen” workshop for parents of LGBTQ youth, Northampton’s Transgender Day Of Remembrance, as well as an ongoing film and forum series. Ticket information is below.
Melissa Ferrick has a great deal to show for two decades in the music industry. This independent artist has developed her craft and fan base over the span of sixteen albums and over her twenty years of experience; she has strengthened a voice that has been challenged by breakdowns and breakthroughs. Her sound is her own and yet so familiar, taking inspiration from, and sharing the stage with, artists such as Bob Dylan and Weezer.
Ferrick’s Still Right Here (released Sept 13, 2011) is some of her hardest earned music to date, boasting guest appearances by Ani DiFranco and Kaki King.
Ferrick was also featured in the Dec. 2011 issue of Out Magazine in their Out 100 as an out artist who has made an impact on the community.
Check out melissaferrick.com
Bitch started classical violin at 4, and later expanded her musical horizons by studying fiddling with Andrew Bird. She first burst onto the scene when her band, Bitch and Animal, toured with Ani Difranco in the U.S. and Europe and released two albums on Difranco’s label, Righteous Babe Records.In 2008, Bitch produced and released an entire album of one of her musical idols, Ferron, called “Boulder.” “Boulder” features performances by such luminaries as Ani Difranco, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls, JD Samson, (Le Tigre, MEN) and Samantha Parton (The Be Good Tanyas).
Check out bitchmusic.com
With the release of her latest CD “Crazy Love”, Karen Grenier continues to make her mark as both a gifted songwriter and crafty lyricist. Drawing in both new and faithful fans, Karen’s songs resonate in the heart and leave listeners anticipating the next song and humming her catchy melodies.
A polished performer, Karen’s smooth, penetrating voice, rhythmic acoustic style, and positive emotional energy make for an excellent concert experience. Several of her songs have been featured on the Dawson’s Creek DVD. Karen has performed at clubs, festivals, coffee houses, and colleges throughout Northeast. Currently promoting her “Crazy Love” CD, Karen continues to impress audiences with her catchy melodies, intimate lyrics and gutsy performances. For Karen, it’s all about being genuine and connecting with people. www.kgrenier.com
Sister Funk, the proud, 2011 Women’s Hall of Fame inductees, deliver hot original music with power, energy, and sass!
This high powered all female-band has been committed to music for the past 10 years & still going strong. Let’s not forget their cameo appearance on Showtime’s smash hit show, The L Word, performing LIVE on an Olivia Cruise.
Sister Funk has been igniting stages from coast to coast, including Canada, performing at some of the largest GLBT Pride events and Women’s Festivals. CURVE Magazine describes Sister Funk as “provocative, high energy, and entertaining, these women put on a hot show”.
The myth that women can’t rock has been dispelled!
With all their awards aside, it’s the music, the fans, the love for each other that keeps them going. After 10 years, Sister Funk continues to stay strong and focused, delivering a passionate and energetic performance time and time again!
As a childhood cancer survivor, Lauren Batemans knows the importance of living in the moment. That is why at the age of 27, Lauren quit her job as a research scientist to pursue a career in music. Her most recent release, Here I Am, shows that she made the right decision.
Here I Am shows the more rocking side of Lauren Bateman. Drawing from influences like Melissa Etheridge, Pat Benatar, Sheryl Crow and Brandi Carlile, Lauren blends her singer/songwriter roots with edgy guitar riffs and a big drum sound to direct the emotional flow of her new release.
“The band and I are just going to keep on getting better and making our live performance even more amazing. Every time I get on stage, whether it’s in front of twenty people or a thousand, I feel like I have found my way home. There is no stopping me now.” www.laurenbateman.com
More information about Will can be found on his Facebook page.
PHOENIX DANCE ACADEMY
For more information, check out their Facebook page
DEDICATED TO DELILAH
KERI + DEJA
Tickets, Additional Details
Tickets for the Rainbow Riverfest are available through the Northampton Box Office or nbotickets.com Adults are $17.50 in advance/$25 at the gate. Ages 13 – 20 are $5 advance/$10 gate, 12 and under are free. Doors open at 11am, and the festival will run until dusk. Beer and wine will be available for 21+; positive ID required. This is a rain or shine event. Tickets for Wish Me Away are available at the Academy of Music Box Office. For more information, please visit www.rainbowriverfest.org or call (413) 588-1018.
The Holyoke Canoe Club is located on Old Ferry Rd in Holyoke, Mass. off of Northampton St/Rt-5.
About the LGBT Coalition
The LGBT Coalition of Western Massachusetts is a non-profit 501c3 tax-exempt organization and a member of InterPride (International Organization of Pride Organizers), the Northampton Chamber of Commerce and CABO (LGBT Chamber of Commerce), and was named 2012 Best Local Activist Organization by the Valley Advocate. To learn more about programs and other events, visit www.lgbtcoalitionwma.org.