VIP tickets are already sold out. Anyone who lives on Cape has probably heard of the Cape Cod Women’s Music Festival, which will be held this Saturday, May 13 in Dennis. What they may not know is that this music festival has catapulted musicians into fame and recognition, all the while supporting an incredible cause.
Locals and music lovers alike know Sarah Swain for her creative abilities as a singer- songwriter, guitarist and front-woman of Sarah Swain and Oh Boys. Swain and the Oh Boys will be performing at the festival this year. She describes her current genre as “original, roots/rockabilly.”
But Swain, a Harwich resident, isn’t just the creator of great music; Cape Cod Women’s Music Festival (CCWMF) would not exist without her. As if creating music, a festival and energetic performances wasn’t enough, Swain is also the founder of Cape Wellness Collaborative, the non-profit organization that spurred the founding of this festival and benefits from the funds raised.
When asked about her impetus to create this annual festival, Swain replied, “I wanted to do something to honor the memory of my mother who we lost to ovarian cancer. Something that would have a lasting and meaningful impact in my community.”
Cape Wellness Collaborative provides wellness therapies, practitioners and other resources to people facing cancer on Cape Cod and the Islands. Many integrative approaches to cancer and its pain management – like nutrition, yoga, acupuncture and counseling – are not covered by insurance.
To date, the festival has raised over $80,000 in conjunction with Cape Wellness Collaborative. Proceeds provide these therapies at no cost to the patient. Despite being less than three years old, CWC has over 80 practitioners in its network.
With the idea for CWC in her mind, Swain searched to see if something like it already existed. “When it didn’t, I called my friend and lawyer Bruce Bierhans. The rest is history. We had our first board meeting Sept 2014 and went live with the program September 2015. We have since served over 200 clients and distributed over $65,000 worth of integrative wellness therapies.”
There are two primary reasons for which Swain created Cape Cod Women’s Music Festival: to act as a fundraiser for the Cape Wellness Collaborative and to highlight local women in music.
“We are so blessed to have so much talent on Cape. This event puts eyes and ears on a lot of female artists,” she said.
In years past, CCWMF was held at WHAT (Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater), Provincetown Hall and Cape Cinema. This year the festival will be at Cape Playhouse in Dennis. Swain is excited about this year’s venue, describing the Playhouse as “magical.”
“It’s like walking back 100 years in time the minute you step through the doors,” she said.
This year’s line up features Ruby Rose Fox, Sasha Dobson and Cape Native Grace Morrison.
All three of these women have had their run-ins with “household name” celebrities. Fox, described as “art-y, edgy and soulful rock and roll," toured with The Motels in 2015. Last year, Fox won New England Music Award’s “Female Performer of the Year.”
Dobson performs with Norah Jones in one of her bands, Puss and Boots, and Morrison’s "folk meets country sounds" have collided with the likes of Ben Folds and Eddie Money in her professional career.
The festival has an impressive pedigree. Meghan Trainor was one of the CCWM Festival’s first performers.
“Meghan Trainor was our first performer at our very first music fest – she was still in high school. Someone gave me her demo tape and the rest is history! OK, seriously I take no credit for her success; we all could tell then she was bound for big things,” Swain said.
Because not everyone has attended a festival, Swain helped paint a depiction of what a newcomer can expect:
“Best. Vibe. Ever. Truly! And it comes from the audience,” she said. “The energy at the CCWMF is always so positive and is a celebration of our community. And the food. And the beer!” That's provided by Cape Cod Beer, which has sponsored this festival from year one. Cape Cod Healthcare, Ptown’s radio station WOMR and Cape Cod Broadcasting Media are some of the many sponsors of this year’s event.
New to the show this year is MC is Kami Lyle. Lyle, who is also a performer, is “crazy talented, brilliant and one of the funniest people anyone has ever met,” Swain said.
Also performing this year will be Chantal, Kathleen Healy, Kim Moberg, Frank + Chev, and Sarah Burrill. General admission tickets are still available, but it’s likely to be a packed house.
For more information on this year’s Women’s Music Festival, to make a donation to Cape Wellness Collaborative or to read more about the cause, visit Capecodwomensmusicfestival.com. Purchase general admission tickets at $40 on the website or by calling Cape Playhouse at 866-811-4111.
Expect to see Sarah Swain and the Oh Boys tearing it up this Saturday, May 13. The tent opens at 5:30 p.m. and the performers go onstage at 7. With such an enormous pool of talent, festival goers may be watching the next local superstar.
Plus, just like any great festival, unexpected guests are absolutely welcome, Swain hinted.
“We are hoping Meghan Trainor comes and surprises us at the fest again someday,” she said. “Just throwing that out there Meghan!”
Cape Cod Women’s Music Festival
Saturday, May 13, 5:30 p.m.
At the Cape Playhouse, Route 6A, Dennis
Tickets and information: Capecodwomensmusicfestival.com, or the Cape Playhouse, 866-811-4111