Festival founder Dee Poku was tired of men dominating festival headlines, so she decided ladies needed more stage time. WGSN’s Amiyra Perkins
Summer festivals you know the drill, right? Food, dancing in the sun, and music by mainly male headliners. So far, so normal. Or maybe not.
Last week I attended Other Festival, a brand new festival happening in NYC. The premise? All the magic of a great festival- food, dancing, style inspo, but with female headliners this time (#thefutureisfemale). That’s what Dee Poku, founder of The Other Festival dreamed up, and it was brilliant. Poku is no stranger to getting her ladies together to brainstorm how they can change the world, in her day job she is also the CEO and co-founder of WIE (Women, Inspiration and Enterprise) with her friend June Sarpong.
With this festival, it was all about inspiration mixed with some serious tunes, makers and creators (think part concert, part conference celebrating the spirit and drive of the ‘other’ gender – women).
Here’s three reason I loved it:
The Other Festival dares to be different.
Musicians and DJs such as Vashtie Kola and Kitty Cash kept the energy alive throughout the evening. When I wasn’t dancing, it was all about enjoying the impressive roster of talks featuring: model Naomi Campbell, jewellery designer Pamela Love, actress/activist Rosario Dawson and Maria Battifarano of Rihanna’s Fenty Corp, the event encouraged disruption, innovation and creativity. The format was inspired by a “work hard, play hard” philosophy.
The space was just as important as the content. Spring Studios, a contemporary Tribeca workspace, housed emerging designers in the Smart Shop, a marketplace for female makers. Attendees could browse the shop or female centric art while snacking on delicious food prepared by an all female culinary crew. #squadgoals
Panels connected the space to the experience: intriguing, engaging and thought provoking. Topics ranged from the modern workplace, personal brand building, and how to celebrate and combat industry challenges. A crowd favourite was a cross-generational panel featuring Cynthia Rowley and her daughter, Kit Kennan.
The Connected Generation
A new frontier of women is on the rise. Digital natives are armed with degrees, young women are harnessing their creativity and entrepreneurial spirits by seeking to enhance and define their self-made brands.
Olivia Perez, Editor-in-Chief of Friend of a Friend, uses Instagram as a virtual business card for creative voices as a stage for future collaborations, conversations and possibilities. While photographer Amber Asaly warned not to let follower count dictate your worth. Although it’s easy to compare yourself to others successes, it’s important to stay true to yourself and your goals.
The Way Forward
Rosario Dawson stated that “we’re going to the matriarchy” and this festival represents a conscious culmination where women really own their gender and platform to have a voice. The Other Festival addresses the concept that there is something beautiful, purposeful and unapologetically honest about alternative paths forward as a society.
According to Poku, “women in music, fashion, art and technology are at the forefront of innovation in America and I’m looking forward to gathering these mould breakers together. The future is most definitely female.”
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