Haim Is 'Semi-Seriously' Talking About Bringing Lilith Fair Back Again (Again)


Though they’re slightly out of the age range of likely original Lilith Fair attendees, the sisters of Haim have revealed Friday that they “talk semi-jokingly but semi-seriously” about bringing Sarah MacLachlan’s all female, mostly indie-rock music festival back.

As Vulture notes, the sisters made the comments at the New Yorker Festival Friday, during a conversation with Kelefa Sanneh. “We talk about this all the time, how there aren’t enough female-represented bands and artists at festivals,” Este Haim said. “You don’t see them. And it’s really sad for us. We came up with the idea basically of why can’t we just bring back a festival that’s just ladies. Not that we don’t love the boys. Love the men.”

Este reportedly would, unsurprisingly, want artists like Lorde, Jenny Lewis, and Taylor Swift (all of whom she and her sisters are friends with). Speaking about the artists she saw when she was younger—many of whom played at Lilith during their time, Sarah MacLachlan included—she commented that in a post-Lilith world, those women don’t have an “outlet” now—which, in the festival scene specifically, is certainly true.

“I did see Melissa Ethridge in concert, I saw Sarah McLachlan in concert, I saw Paula Cole in concert, and Sheryl Crowe. All these amazing ladies had such an amazing outlet and place to play music, and it was really beautiful and I feel like that’s not really available anymore and that outlet isn’t there. We talk semi-jokingly but semi-seriously about making it happen. So stay tuned. I think that would be really magical.”

Unfortunately for Haim, they did bring Lilith Fair back after its original run from 1997 to 1999; in 2010, it was revived, to mixed results, as shows were cancelled due to poor ticket sales.

“[It’s] about learning more from our failures than our successes, and it was a beautiful organic event that happened at a point in time when it was really needed,” MacLaclan said later of the failure of Lilith Fair 2.0. “And bringing the same thing back last year really didn’t make any sense, in retrospect, without due diligence being done on how women have changed. Because in 12 years, women have changed a lot. Their expectations have changed, the way they view the world has changed, and that was not taken into consideration, which I blame myself for.”

Other artists noted that the original Lilith ended up ghettoizing their work instead of expanding their reach. As Jill Cunniff of Lucious Jackson said in 2012:

Then what happened with our last album, it was ironic: Lilith Fair had created all these radio stations that were female-centric, and before that, we’d been Alternative Rock stations with like No Doubt, and Hole, and Garbage. Those were the female artists on Alternative. After Lilith, there were all these stations created for women’s music, and the Alternative stations cleared out the women. So by the time our last album came out, it was rough: they couldn’t get the song on the radio, except for all these feminine stations. And that was the death knell for our last album. I felt it, I was like oh shit, we’re not gonna be able to get this record to where it needs to be.

Haim’s comments come at an interesting time, given that many of the biggest selling and most famous musical acts right now are women (Beyoncé, her best friend Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga), though she’s right about the fact that that hasn’t trickled down to the gender breakdown of festivals. But the most likely inspiration behind her comments is something else entirely: Perhaps the band’s tour with Swift is making them start to feel like every show should be just like a Taylor Swift show.

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Image via Thos Robinson/Getty for The New Yorker

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