The country’s largest celebration of women in music is coming to Milford this fall. Downtown Milford Inc. and Wilmington-based Gable Music Ventures announced that the Ladybug Festival, the largest celebration of women in music, will take place in Milford from 3 to 9 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 22.
The official artist announcement is scheduled for mid-July, and organizers of the Milford event will distribute promotional materials during the 7th Annual Ladybug Festival in Wilmington Friday and Saturday, July 20 and 21. The free, live-music block party will feature approximately 30 artists performing.
The event was created in 2012 as a response to the Firefly Music Festival. Hundreds of live music fans statewide were disappointed to be unable to attend due to the cost of tickets. Gable Music decided to launch Ladybug, a free alternative for fans to enjoy. The event has grown in Wilmington from 300 in attendance in 2012 to over 10,000 in 2017. Milford is the first expansion site outside Wilmington for the event, and Milford is where the ladybug became the state bug!
The event will be held downtown with Walnut Street closed off to vehicle traffic from SE to NE Front Street, as well as Park Avenue, which will host a beer garden run by Downtown Milford Inc. The main stage will be on Walnut Street at the intersection of Park Avenue.
Local businesses are opening their doors to musicians during the event as venues, anticipating the Ladybug bump in sales that Wilmington businesses have enjoyed the last six years. In addition to the main outdoor stage, the Milford library outdoor amphitheater, Arena’s, Dolce, Gallery 37, the Mispillion Art League, Petite Sweets, Park Place, My Sister’s Fault, Milford Antiques, Georgia House, Lifecycle, Elegant Style, Irish Rose, Riverfront Theater, Riverwalk Gifts/Toytopia and Causey Mansion Bed & Breakfast will be hosting musicians either inside or directly outside their establishments.
The event is free thanks to the generous sponsorship of local businesses that see the value in bringing thousands of people into Milford to shop and enjoy the downtown area. Gallery 37 was among the first businesses to commit, and owners David Pickrell and Marcia Reed were instrumental in bringing the event into Milford.
“Marcia and I feel very strongly about the intention of the Ladybug Music Festival, and to give our support and help to create opportunities for those in the arts is very important to us,” said Pickrell. “This event will not only cultivate future opportunities for female musicians, but it will elevate the spirit of our community and help to provide a positive cultural direction for our city. Expanding the awareness of music and art is an invaluable part of a balanced growth plan for the individual or a city,” said Reed.
The Delaware Lottery, Delaware Municipal Electric Corporation, i.g. Burton, Planet Fitness, Citizens Bank, Perdue, Southern Delaware Medical Group, and Nationwide Health Care Services have all pitched in to make the event possible as well.
Gable Music Ventures co-founder and primary owner Gayle Dillman started what has become the largest all-female music festival in the country, and Milford will now be a part of that ongoing story.