Friday, 24 October 2014

From Music Festivals to College Campuses: Trans* and Women's Communities - Huffington Post

Co-authored by Elizabeth McConnell


Some of you may have read the article ' When Women Become Men at Wellesley,' authored by Ruth Padawer, in last week's New York Times Magazine. Padawer skillfully and thoughtfully brings to light the challenges related to transgender students at Wellesley College and other women's colleges like it. This issue has also been discussed in online queer women's blog communities like Autostraddle.

' When Women Become Men at Wellesley' brings up questions like the following: What is the purpose of a women's college? Who belongs there? Should trans men, trans women, and other gender-nonconforming students be accepted into a women's college? When a person transitions during their time at a women's college, should they then be asked to leave? What are the complications between diversity and inclusion on the one hand and, on the other, the desire to have a 'safe space' for women-born, women-identified women, or cisgender women, to be where they see other women-born, women-identified women as leaders, where there is no competition from men for these positions, where women are free from the patriarchy of our society?

We related to Padawer's article because of our own work on trans inclusion. We are currently writing up results from a study that we undertook at Michfest (Michigan Womyn's Music Festival). Michfest, which began in 1976, is an annual gathering in the woods of Michigan with camping, music, and workshops. The festival states its intention is for only women-born, women-identified women to attend.

We interviewed and surveyed Michfest attendees about their attitudes toward including trans women at the festival. We were interested in the dialogue and tensions around this issue, which has been actively debated in several recent online communities -- Bitch Magazine, Autostraddle, and The Huffington Post, to name a few.

Similar to students at women's colleges, the women we interviewed identified certain parts of the culture at Michfest that were important and valuable to them. They spoke about having the freedom to be themselves as strong women and to violate traditional gender roles, experiencing healing through being in a safe climate away from patriarchy, and undergoing a process of renewal and recharging that gave them the strength to deal with the world outside the festival.

Women at the festival who did not support including trans women at the festival placed a high value on the importance of separate space for women-born, women-identified women apart from trans women. Many of them expressed the belief that trans women's experiences of womanhood are just different, especially around girlhood, and thought that trans women would benefit from having their own space to organize. Some women also worried that the presence of male anatomy (penises) at the festival would trigger trauma survivors who felt safe in a community of cisgender women. Some women also viewed the effort of trans women to be included in the festival as a form of male privilege and stressed the importance of creating boundaries so that the festival didn't end up becoming open to anyone who wanted to attend.

Women at the festival who supported trans inclusion believed that women's spaces should include trans women. Many connected this position to a belief that feminism should address all oppressions, and that trans women are directly oppressed by patriarchy. Some women also expressed a need to move beyond the gender binary and to stop seeing trans women as men. Some said Michfest needed to change with the times in order to increase attendance among younger feminists, or to extend its benefits to trans women.

As these examples illustrate, there are a number of complicated perspectives and positions on trans inclusion in women's spaces, and these dialogues illustrate some of the complexities of combating patriarchy.

Elizabeth McConnell is a doctoral student in the department of psychology at DePaul University and an intern at Impact: The LGBT Health and Development Program at Northwestern University.

We are in a time of broad social change -- marriage equity has become a reality in 32 states plus the District of Columbia -- and more change may be right around the corner.

Instead of excluding those who are different, we must forge bridges and new partnerships and work to make feminist institutions more trans-inclusive. In this way, we can work to address the interconnections between systems of oppression, rather than targeting them in isolation.

Trans* exclusion in women's communities will continue to divide and isolate us. Trans* inclusion has the power to unite us and create transformative change.

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Ultra Music Festival issues statement in wake of possible lawsuit - Local 10

Organizers of the Ultra Music Festival released a statement Friday regarding their security measures in wake of the ongoing criticism resulting from a security guard's trampling in March. Miami police said organizers of the festival did not use proper fencing in the area where Erica Mack was trampled. Chief Manuel Orosa said the critical injuries Mack suffered could have been avoided if the proper fencing was used.

Here is the full statement from Ultra:

' The safety of our event, fans, crew and personnel has always been our number one concern. Despite our best efforts to continue to provide a safe and enjoyable event for our patrons and staff, certain criminal acts will always be beyond our control even though we continue to assure that security is of prime importance. Indeed, we never condone any criminal activities, especially those of a few unlawful gatecrashers whose actions are both illegal and reprehensible.

Since its inception in 1999, producers of Ultra Music Festival have continually adapted security measures to assure that the event is safe. In fact, during the 2014 event, organizers worked directly and collaboratively with the Bayfront Park Management Trust, the City of Miami Police Department, the DEA, Homeland Security and CSC, one of the nation's top rated private security companies, in deploying the biggest security team in the event's history. Daily security personnel for each of the three days included: 257 police officers per day, 49 more per day than the previous year, 18 undercover officers, and 12 bike detail (totaling 36 bike detail), in addition to various other high-level security measures throughout the production. To further serve our events professional environment, earlier this year event organizers hired Ray Martinez, who recently retired as the Chief of the Miami Beach Police Department, to head security measures. We know Chief Martinez will continue to assure we provide the highest of quality in our approach to the event's experience. In fact, event organizers and Chief Martinez are presently working with officials from Bayfront Park, the City of Miami Police Department and others to assure that the 2015 event remains at the forefront of successful festivals for all patrons.

We continue to wish Ms. Mack the best for her future and hope she has made a full and complete recovery, but the complaint her lawyers have now filed as part of a lawsuit does not properly recite the facts of the unfortunate accident. Without question, event organizers believe that the incident was caused by illegal actions of unknown third parties for which it is not responsible.'

The statement comes after news that Mack was preparing to file a lawsuit against the organizers of the music festival and the city of Miami Friday. She is suing for $10 million for the injuries she sustained in the incident.

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Lee University To Present Homecoming Music Festival 2014 - The Chattanoogan

The festival choir sings at the 2013 Homecoming Music Festival.

As a part of the Lee University Homecoming activities, the School of Music will present its annual Music Festival on Saturday, Nov. 8, at 7 p.m. in the Conn Center.

This year's festival program will include familiar student ensembles Campus Choir, Chamber Strings, Evangelistic Singers, Jazz Band, Ladies of Lee, Lee Singers, Symphonic Band, Voices of Lee, and a group new to the Homecoming Music Festival, the Brass Choir, directed by one of the newest faculty member Dr. Nathan Warner.

'The Music Festival has been a vibrant part of the Homecoming experience over the years. This year will be no exception and will feature our talented students in a wonderful evening of music and ministry,' said Dr. William Green, Dean of Lee's School of Music. 'Come and join us as we showcase what Lee does so well.'

Tickets for the Music Festival are $10 for adults, $5 for students, and free for Lee students. They can be ordered through the Alumni Relations office at 614-8316 or purchased in the Conn Center the night of the event.

For more information, contact the School of Music at 614-8240 or

For more information about the festival or to register for Homecoming, visit

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How Social Media is Ruining the Music Festival Experience - Phoenix New Times (blog)

Instagram user therealslimsadieee

I had been waiting more than 20 years to see Pearl Jam live, and the time had finally come: I was going to see Seattle's finest at the final weekend of the Austin City Limits Music Festival.

It was worth the wait. Eddie Vedder drank a bottle of wine onstage and sang his heart out. Mike McCreedy played the guitar solo for 'Even Flow' behind his head. The crowd sang 'Alive' in perfect unison.

It was an amazing experience -- right up until the moment a short middle-aged woman in front of me stuck her hands up to record the band's rendition of 'Jeremy' for her Instagram account. Every 15 seconds she'd hold up her phone, not only blocking my view but ensuring that she experienced what was obviously a favorite song, one she'd presumably paid a lot of money to see live, through the screen of her phone.

See also: Four Simple Ways to Get People to Stop Using Phones at Concerts

This experience is the obnoxious side effect of the connected world that we live in and one that frequent concert-goers have become accustomed to. What makes this instance different from the thousands that have come before it is that it was motivated by the organizers of the festival.

The push began as soon as I purchased my three-day passes. I was supposed to brag to my friends on Facebook and Twitter that I had made my ticket purchase, which seemed like a rather pretentious thing to do. Did people really need to know where I was going to be that particular weekend in October? It just seems like an invitation to plan to rob my apartment. I even downloaded an app to my phone called #aclfest so I could prepare for the weekend by planning out the schedule of who I want to see.

At the festival, I was bombarded with alerts making sure I didn't forget to use my free ride from Uber or stream the fest on my cell phone (did they not know where I was?) They gave out the printed copy of the schedule as soon as we walked through the gate, but that didn't stop the plethora of attendees of all ages from keeping their heads down as they looked at their phones to see where Capitol Cities was playing. If they had looked up, they would have seen the stage right in front of them marked with the logo of the aptly named sponsor. When they finally realized where they were, they turned the phone toward themselves, snapped some selfies, and moved on.

As we anxiously waited for St. Vincent to take the stage, the video board ran through a slideshow of hashtagged photos of festival attendees, encouraging anyone with a smartphone and an Instagram account to use #aclfest on all their pictures so they could see themselves on the screen. Then, like an all-knowing voice of reason, an announcement bellowed through the loudspeaker explaining that our enjoyment would be enhanced greatly by putting away our electronic devices. This is the underlying theme of St. Vincent's latest album, and I mostly complied with her wishes. Weeks later, it's her performance I'm still raving about.

Walking the grounds, there was more evidence that the festival promoters and sponsors wanted you to use your cellphone. You could have a festival volunteer take your picture in a giant, Instagram-ready square-shaped frame in the middle of the park against the Austin skyline (I missed seeing Jenny Lewis to take part in this admittedly charming endeavor.). If you tweeted something cool about Miller Lite, they would print that picture out for you for free. Then you could go to the Samsung tent and swap out your battery so you could take more selfies and download an app to listen to the artists you missed perform because you were waiting in line to learn about AT&T's super-fast WiFi. At many points in the evening, the cell phone towers in the area became so overloaded that I couldn't make a call or send a text.

I always believed the festival experience was unique because you and a few thousand people were collectively sharing an experience. At other festivals, I've met cool people as we waited in anticipation for a headliner to take the stage or shared our feelings about a mind-blowing performance while sitting on a bench eating expensive festival food. Something was different this time around. Everyone was urged to share the experience instantly with the world and, more specifically, their friends who weren't there, at the expense of sharing the actual experience with the actual people around them. It's as if people spent hundreds of dollars to brag about where they were instead of getting swept up in the moment. This meant they were missing out on St. Vincent climbing the rafters, dancing to tUnE-yArDs in the mud on a rainy Texas afternoon, and Beck performing 'Debra' on the last show of his tour.

It wasn't until we boarded the plane on the way home that the experience finally seemed complete. It was obvious we had all been at the same place. A woman from Seattle and I compared our notes for Outkast and Beck and suddenly everyone joined in, talking about who they loved and who could have been better. This is what I wanted to take part in, what I wanted to share, not what I wanted to brag about to #everybody. And -- surprise, surprise -- it happened when everyone's cell phone had no service.

Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar. 9 Tips for Using A Fake ID To Get Into A Show10 Classic Punk Records That Actually Kind of SuckThe 10 Coolest, Scariest, Freakiest Songs About HeroinThe 30 Most Disturbing Songs of All Time

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Pitchfork Podcast 39: Sleater-Kinney by pitchfork

Managing editor Brandon Stosuy talks to associate editor Jenn Pelly about Sleater-Kinney's reunion, their recent box set Start Together and the band's legacy.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Treasure Island Music Festival Recap - Daily Californian

MusicTreasure Island Music Festival Recap CHET FAKER

This past weekend, Treasure Island Music Festival brought a relaxed experience filled with musicians ranging from electronica to hip-hop and indie rock alike. With a stunning view of the city and captivating performances, the festival was its own little party in the middle of the Bay.

Electronica musician Chet Faker walked onto the Tunnel Stage with a classic man bun (which at some point transitions into a full beard) and gray sweater, looking very much like the festival's attendees themselves. His captivating stage presence and contagious dance moves, though, could easily distinguish him from the hoards of bearded men in the crowd.

- Tiffany Kim BANKS

Using a simple setup of just a soundboard, a couple of mics and a keyboard, the artist got the entire crowd to sway to his thumping bass - a segue into his first song, 'I'm Into You.' As the set progressed, the artist warmly communicated with his audience, asking them to 'help him out with the lyrics' in the chorus of 'No Diggity' and 'Talk is Cheap,' all the while maintaining a coolness true to his jazzy, downtempo sound.

The singer-songwriter, who doubles as an electronic music producer, projected an independent authenticity that - although it wasn't doused in high energy - stood as a refreshing mid-day standout in Sunday's lineup. Standing in for stage lights, the sun even began to spotlight the artist on stage, silhouetting him against the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco skyline.

Upon entering the stage, Jillian Banks, wearing lace and all black, looked like a modern-day Morticia Addams. The 26-year-old glided to and from the microphone throughout her set, viciously making eye contact with the radius of her extensive crowd. Her icy, warrior-like persona on stage paralleled the confidence pervading her album, Goddess. Banks only broke from character to state her love for San Francisco and to thank the festival for being the 'perfect ending' to her tour.

- Tiffany Kim

Among Banks' pitch-perfect humming, cooing and belting, the artist radiated honesty in her performance, drawing extra attention to the emotional depth in her lyrics. Between the dominant beats and bass in 'Brain' and 'Drowning,' Banks even revealed to her audience 'how all of her songs started - with a voice and a keyboard' - through a stripped-down version of her song 'Fall Over.'

Banks nicely balanced ballads with anthems in her set list and spilled her emotion onto the stage through her brooding low register. Her performance is further evidence that her debut album, Goddess, is very much aptly named.

- Josh Gu ST. LUCIA

Danish singer-songwriter Karen Marie Ørsted, often recognized by her stage name, MØ, is known for her effortless combination of angelic vocals and haunting electro-pop sounds, but not many people have the opportunity to see her unbridled charisma and unapologetic eccentricity in person. With her trademark braid, an eye patch that unintentionally matched the pirate theme of Treasure Island and the confidence to break out some of the dorkiest pelvic thrusts, MØ undoubtedly gave one of the most memorable performances of Treasure Island's first day.

MØ's set was highlighted by her utilization of the stage backdrop, displaying a montage of video clips which supplemented her act. This created a unique experience for the crowd that ultimately elevated her performance above those of her peers. The content of the clips ranged from footage of MØ singing background vocals to vintage film clips of people snapping in synchrony with animal heartbeats, adding to the peculiar appeal of her unconventional art-punk aesthetic.

Armed to the teeth with synth-driven pop sounds, St. Lucia electrified the evening air of Treasure Island's Saturday set with a flurry of uptempo tracks with infectious beats and catchy lyrics that made terrible dancing and ever-embarrassing scream-singing a wonderful inevitability. The Brooklyn-based indietronica group showcased their undeniable stage presence and crowd chemistry with chorus chants incited by lead singer and frontman Jean-Philip Grobler.

Standouts from their performance included hit songs from their new album, When the Night, including 'Elevate,' 'Closer Than This' and 'All Eyes on You.' Their mesmerizing instrumentation - coupled with bright lights dancing to the rhythm of the songs with almost as much enthusiasm as Grobler - created a euphoric atmosphere and kept the audience animated and excited throughout the set.

Amid the annoying teenage fangirls and the aggressively drunk 40-somethings, it started to become hard to appreciate the music festival, but with St. Lucia, it was different. The energy they brought to their performance gave the audience a special freedom to indulge and enjoy the music.

- Josh Gu

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