Outessafest forges forward with an all-female lineup


To all the big-name music fests out there struggling to get the male-to-female performer ratio in decent shape (let alone any semblance of equal), Outessafest has a message for you: Booking women really isn’t that hard.

The new female-forward festival will host the inaugural editions of the event this fall on September 29 in the Washington, D.C. area, and on October 20 in North Carolina. Both dates are organized by REI Co-op, an outdoor supplies and clothing company, building upon their previous “Outessa” retreats.

The lineups do differ between the two dates, but some Vanyaland favorites pop up on each bill; PVRIS, Brazilian Girls, Bat Fangs, and Palehound are all slated to perform. Also on deck is Mavis Staples, Seratones, Lucy Dacus, Oshun, and Bibi McGill, to name a few.


“We’ve looked at being part of music festivals over the years in lots of different ways,” says Sally Johnson, senior manager of events marketing of REI Co-op, on the company’s blog post about the festival. “Outessafest was created for the urban female who is interested in the outdoors, music and art and wants to have fun experiences on the weekends with her friends and family. These festivals are made by women for women. There’s something really inspiring and energizing in this work.”

General admission tickets are currently on sale for both dates, as well as passes that include access to on-site yoga, rock climbing, and “firestarter” sessions on camping and assorted nature hacks. See the “DC area” lineup below.

Featured PVRIS image by Eddy Leiva for Vanyaland.