Prizm News / September 20, 2018 / By Prizm News

Since 1989, the festival in Central Ohio has been a welcoming space for women ‘to enjoy, share community and connect.’


By Prizm News

“Years ago,” say organizers of the Ohio Lesbian Festival, “the founding mothers made the radical political decision to use the word lesbian in the name of the music festival at a time when it was not socially acceptable and generally unsafe to do so.”


That was in 1989. These days, the word lesbian certainly isn’t considered unacceptable , but it doesn’t exactly seem de rigueur, either, as more women in the LGBTQ community seem to identify themselves as queer.

But not the Ohio Lesbian Festival, which will take place from through Sunday just south of Columbus.

“The Ohio Lesbian Festival continues to carve out space created by lesbians,” organizers say, although the four-day event is open for all women “to enjoy, share community and connect in a rare and powerful way.”

And “all women” includes all women: lesbians, bisexual women, straight women, cisgender women, transgender women. The motto of the festival is “All Womyn Welcome, Always.”

The festival has a new location this year: Hoover Y Park, 1570 Rohr Road, Lockbourne, 43137.

Here’s the entertainment schedule:

Friday Night Stage:

“Lift Every Voice!” is a social-justice round robin featuring Crys Matthews, winner of the 2017 NewSong Music Competition; singer and muralist Natalia Zukerman; and indie-pop artist Heather Mae.

• Ohio-born comic Mimi Gonzalez, who has appeared on Logo’s “One Night Stand Up,” Mo Gaffney’s “Women Aloud,” “Ellen” and “Latino Laugh Festival.”

• Canadian folk singer Ferron, a legend who has recorded 15 albums since her debut in 1977.

Krudas Cubensi, a queer, feminist Afro-Cuban hip hop duo that describes its music as “a weapon to fight against oppression, for justice, for balance, for our rights (and) to celebrate the life.” The duo is Odaymara Cuesta and Olivia Prendes.

The Big Girl Burlesque is a body positivity troupe that believes size has nothing to do with sexy.

Saturday Day Stage:

Namoli Brennet is a folk-rock artist who was named to the inaugural Trans 100 list and has been nominated for four OutMusic Awards.

Tracy Walkeris a Cincinnati artist whose music sits at the crossroads of folk, rock, country, jazz and blues. She has opened shows for Patti LaBelle and the late Joe Cocker.

Saturday Night Stage:

Reina Williams has an eclectic acoustic soul hip-hop sound with an amazing voice to match. She has written more than 30 songs and produced four full-length CDs.

• A familiar presence on NPR and the BBC, Erin McKeown plays nearly 200 shows a year while and has released nine studio albums. She offers a distinct and challenging mix of American musical styles.

• Blues/rock singer-songwriter Teresa Trull, Grammy-nominated multi- instrumentalist and singer Barbara Higbie, and iconic singer/songwriter Cris Williamson bring a mix of new material and old favorites.

• Founded in 2008 by Viva Valezz!, the Velvet Hearts! are an impressive group of queer burlesque, drag and sideshow performers with troupe chapters in Columbus, Cleveland and Pittsburgh.

Lourdes Perez is a prolific contemporary recording artist, songwriter, composer, arranger, poet, vocalist and guitarist. She is also one of few female decimistas (writers of décima, a specialized form of Spanish poetry).

Sunday Day Stage:

Ruth Barrett is a pioneering musician/priestess and lesbian witch whose recordings are among the pioneering musical works in the pagan and goddess spirituality movements. She’ll perform with cellist Rachel Alexander and percussionist Pele Yemaja.

Nia & Ness are a black, lesbian, dancer-poet performance art duo from Brooklyn. They were the winners of the 2017 National Women’s Music Festival Emerging Artist Contest.

B. “Wahru”Cleveland is the founder, director and leader of Sistah Ngoma, a professional multicultural women’s drum group.

• Comedian Elvira Kurt is a Second City veteran whose credits include “Baroness Von Sketch Show,” “Reel Women Seen,” “The Gayest Show Ever” and “Just for Laughs.”

Two-day passes (Saturday and Sunday) for the Ohio Lesbian Festival are $120, three-day passes are $140 and four-day passes are $145 if purchased before Sunday, Sept. 16. Prices at the gate are $130, $150 and $155.

Visit for details about camping and other festival attractions.