Woo Grl Festival is unlike anything Indianapolis has seen before. Bringing together a diverse group of women performers, a portion of the proceeds will also benefit Girls Rock! Indianapolis. Ariana Beedie, one of the founders of Woo Grl Festival, felt it was time for an event like this in Indy. PATTERN sat down with Ariana to talk about what went into planning the festival, what it’s about, who’s performing and more.
Allie Coppedge: What is Woo Grl Festival and what is it about?
Ariana Beedie: Woo Grl Festival is a music festival in Indy highlighting women of all walks of life, which is something that has never happened before. Whether you are cisgender, non-binary or trans, we need to be celebrated when it comes to Indianapolis art. Myself, Nicole O’Neal and KO (Kristin Newborn) came together to start this music festival. It’s incredibly important black women are highlighted in the curation of a festival because Indianapolis music is very white male centered. I serve on Musical Family Trees’ board so I’m very familiar with Indy’s music.
So this is a one day festival happening at Pioneer and Square Cat Vinyl and features local bands as well as a few regional bands. Some of the proceeds of our sales are going to Girls Rock! Indianapolis as well as their band is going to play at the Square Cat Stage.
AC: Oh, nice! I didn’t know they have a band.
AB: Yeah, they have a camp that part of their time is spent on band lessons and they perform at the end.
AC: So then this partnership with Girls Rock! came about because you and Nicole had worked with them before?
AB: Yes and I believe KO has before as well.
AC: Where did the idea for this festival come from? Did you see an opportunity?
AB: It wasn’t my original idea but myself and my best friend, another black woman, created FAF Collective. We threw a show called Indy Women in Hip-Hop at State Street Pub that sold out. It featured women of color and not just in the hip-hop field.
With the work that I do in the community and with KO and Nicole who are our female musicians and have done a lot to showcase women in music and push forward with different opportunities. All of us do work that leads toward us being celebrated and so it felt like the natural next step. Us curating something big, a niche market that’s also neglected and maybe criticized. We deserve to be celebrated and honestly, artists of color in particular built music in Indianapolis. All of us have really worked toward this moment so it’s pretty magical that we’re here, we’ve been able to get sponsors, tickets, volunteers and venues to back us.
AC: It sounds like you and the other founders have done similar events before. But have you done something of this caliber? If not, how did you navigate putting together a festival?
AB: Not anything to this size, but we are each curators in this community. Teamwork, connecting, facilitating, doing a lot of events, that’s what we do. For myself, it seemed pretty natural to move in this direction. The main thing with something of this scale is communication so we talk everyday, sending out emails, partnering up. Girls Rock! has also been a big help and we’ve been able to work with their network. What’s really great is that it’s able to be known that black women created this, there is no silencing. This is a major thing that has been supported so I think other people have been waiting for something like this to be able to support. I call this a labor of love, only that we’re making sure people are getting paid.
AC: How did you find all of the artists? You have a pretty extensive list of people performing, so was it all submissions or how did that work?
AB: We had a lot of people that submitted music so it was hard to narrow it down. It’s a lot of different intersections. My publication has also covered a lot of these artists. Indianapolis is so big yet so very small. Our lineup is so diverse but it’s really a reflection of our community.
AC: Is the festival comprised of all musical artists?
AB: We do have VOCAB, an open mic that’s happened for around 12 years now. They are curating artists for the festival that will be more spoken word but have musical backing. It’s about 90% bands but not strictly musical artists.
AC: The festival is held between Pioneer and Square Cat Vinyl, so will festival-goers be able to freely move between the two?
AB: Yes, people will buy tickets to the event and get access to both stages. The earlier shows start at Square Cat Vinyl and we’re going to end the night at Pioneer. Square Cat Vinyl is more all ages so it will be easy for parents to bring their kids and if they want to put them to bed and come back later they’ll be able to. It does have a flow to it though because we don’t want people to miss out on acts.
AC: Is this something you intend to bring back next year?
AB: We plan on moving forward. There’s more and more artists that are adding to this community. I want to give more people the chance to perform and hope to expand in the future as well. So we plan on coming back next year for sure!.