Ladybug Music Festival is Still Going Strong

Downtown Wilmington will be alive with music of all genres.

On Thursday, July 21, the fifth annual Ladybug Music Festival will return to Lower Market Street (LOMA) with two outdoor stages, 10 indoor stages, 11 food trucks and over 50 vendors and female performances from all genres. The festival is free for all ages and is predicting between 5,000 and 8,000 attendees.

Gable Music Ventures is very excited to announce that WSTW will present Mary Lambert as a special guest at the Ladybug Festival. Lambert is a Seattle-based singer, songwriter and Grammy nominee. She was nominated for writing and singing the hook to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s “Same Love.”

The Ladybug Festival started as an alternative to Red Frog’s Firefly Music Festival in Dover. The first year of Firefly, a group of local artists petitioned against Red Frog because of the lack of local musicians on the festival’s lineup. As a result, Mike Schwartz, who owns the 2nd and LOMA block of businesses, asked Gable Music Ventures, a local event planning company, to arrange a block party. Owners and founders Gayle Dillman and Jeremy Hebbel toyed with names for the event and they landed on “ladybug”—which, coincidentally, also happens to be the state bug. From there, the idea of an all-female music event transpired. It was perfect for their spin-off festival since, unlike Firefly—whose lineup primarily consists of male artists—Ladybug is local, female and free.

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According to Dillman and Hebbel, 2,600 performers entered submissions for this year’s Ladybug Festival. They whittled down the lineup to 54 artists. “Pretty much everyone that’s played wants to play again,” says Hebbel. 

He says they work to strike a balance of new and interesting women, regular performers and younger emerging artists, one of the focuses of their business. Gable Music Ventures hires and employs many younger artists to encourage their songwriting; the youngest performer at Ladybug this year is only 13.

Dillman says that music is a healthy outlet, especially for teenagers. When Dillman’s daughter was 15, “music was a vehicle” for emotional expression—but she didn’t have anywhere to play. That inspired Dillman to establish Gable Music Ventures. Dillman says it’s important to create spaces and audiences for local artists, because that’s how a music scene starts.  

In addition to helping artists get their start, Dillman says the Ladybug Festival has become a “springboard for a lot of people.” It is part of a larger mission to bring Delawareans into Wilmington, support local businesses and explain the city’s narrative differently than it’s portrayed in the newspapers, she says.

Dillman says music is treated as a novelty in Delaware but shouldn’t be. “Music is part of the bigger experience of living in Wilmington,” she says. “Music is the moment; it’s the present.”

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More information:
July 21 at 5 p.m.
2nd and Loma in Wilmington

Live Music at: Extreme Pizza, Zaikka, Babe styling Studio, Studio on Market, Loma Coffee, Artzscape, 213 Market, Cultivate Technologies, Bobbi Rhian’s, Outdoor Stage at 3rd and Loma and in Del Tech’s Courtyard

Headliners: Caroline Rose, Nadjah Nicole, Rachel Sage and special guest Mary Lambert.

Our Best of Delaware Elimination Ballot is open through February 22!

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