Cape Cod Women’s Music Festival Celebrates 10 Years

by Jennifer Sexton-Riley
Gaby Moreno will perform at the tenth annual Cape Cod Women’s Music Festival on June 15. Gaby Moreno will perform at the tenth annual Cape Cod Women’s Music Festival on June 15.

Put on your dancing shoes and get ready to kick up your heels.

The Cape Cod Women’s Music Festival will celebrate its 10th anniversary at the Payomet Performing Arts Center in Truro on June 15 with a lineup that’s sure to keep you on your feet. As always, 100 percent of the proceeds will benefit the Cape Wellness Collaborative, the nonprofit dedicated to providing free-of-charge integrative therapies and nutritious meals to people facing cancer on Cape Cod and the Islands.

Local musician Sarah Swain is the woman behind the music as well as the cause it supports. Swain created the Cape Cod Women’s Music Festival in 2012 (the Festival skipped two years due to COVID), and founded the Cape Wellness Collaborative in 2014.

“It's mind blowing and truly heartwarming for me to have the opportunity to celebrate the 10 anniversary of CCWMF at Payomet with so many wonderful musicians and what I consider to be the best audience an artist could ever hope for,” Swain said. “I am so deeply grateful to everyone who has made CCWMF possible over the years!”

Approximately 1,400 people are diagnosed with cancer each year on Cape Cod. Many seek integrative therapies and nutritional support to manage pain and nausea, reduce anxiety and increase well being during their illness. But most of these helpful therapies, including acupuncture, massage, energy work, yoga and nutritional counseling, are not covered by insurance. Since its inception, Cape Wellness Collaborative has served thousands of individuals and provided thousands of healthy meals to people facing cancer and their caregivers.

CCWMF board member Courtney Wittenstein said she is thrilled that the festival will once again take place at the Payomet Performing Arts Center.

“We are so fortunate to have the event at Payomet,” Wittenstein said. “They have embraced us and have made this whole process so seamless. Grateful is an understatement.”

Wittenstein added that tickets are selling fast, so if you haven’t purchased yours yet, the time is now to do so.

“This year is extra special for us as we celebrate our 10 year anniversary.” Wittenstein said. “We have an incredible lineup with Grammy award-winning Gaby Moreno, plus a talented list of local performers. It’s always a magical evening full of love, fun, talent and community supporting [Cape Wellness Collaborative] and celebrating women in music!”

This year’s lineup features an exciting variety of performers who will dazzle audience members with their talent and range of diverse styles, including Gaby Moreno, Zoe Lewis, Dirty Water Dance Band, Shannon Davis, Sarah Burrill, Mozelle, Renee Levesque and Sarah Swain and the Oh Boys.

Since moving to Los Angeles from her native Guatemala, singer-songwriter-producer Gaby Moreno has released eight albums and earned four Grammy nominations for her albums “Illusion” (Best Latin Pop Album, 2017), “Alegoría” (Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album, 2022), "X Mí (Vol. 1)" (Best Latin Pop Album 2023) and for producing legendary cuban singer Omara Portuondo's album "Vida" (Best Latin Tropical Album 2023). She is also a five-time nominee and winner of a Latin Grammy for “Best New Artist” (2013). Outside of her extensive accolades in TV and film, Moreno has proven to be a groundbreaking artist whose impact has extended beyond just music. Through her various projects, she has redefined Americana as the only prominent Latina in the genre today, ultimately opening the doors for other marginalized voices and transforming the landscape overall. Simultaneously, Moreno has harnessed the power of her art to fight for those often overlooked. She was recently named the first UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador from Guatemala and works closely with various organizations that support those on the margins.

Zoë Lewis, sometimes known as “a band in a body,” will set the tone for a fun evening of incredible music with her mixture of word beat grooves, vintage jazz, original tunes and quirky storytelling, all with a generous splash of humor.

Dirty Water Dance Band is a six-piece rock-and-reggae-soul ensemble fronted by husband and wife duo Josh and Melissa Ayala, based on the Cape. Their sound and style is rooted in reggae rhythms, soulful vocals and harmonies and a powerful, high energy delivery for a musical experience like no other.

Shannon Davis is an award-winning singer-songwriter from Cape Cod. Her latest release and debut album, “Tell Me a Story,” was produced and recorded by Grammy-nominated producer Jon Evans and was released this past October. The songs that make up “Tell Me a Story” are emotionally evocative, containing strong imagery coupled with haunting vocal melodies.

Cape Cod’s own Sarah Burrill is a nationally-acclaimed artist who is also a survivor. Burrill penned the song "Rise Above" for the Cape Cod Women's Music Festival a few years ago. The lyrics became a local anthem for women going through breast cancer.

Eastham jazz singer Mozelle performs a mix of jazz, blues, and R&B. Mozelle’s career has taken her to New York City, London and beyond, where she has graced the stage with notable jazz artists like Bruce Abbot, Fred Fried, and John Thomas.

Singer-songwriter Renée Levesque is a return performer at the Cape Cod Women's Music Festival. Levesque delights audiences with her heartfelt storytelling, smooth vocals and her fresh melodies and lyrics.

Sarah Swain and the Oh Boys need no introduction for Cape Cod Women's Music Festival fans. Since 2009 they have thrilled audiences across the Cape and beyond with their original songs along with modern and classic americana/roots/rockabilly and vintage country tunes.

Melissa Ayala of Dirty Water Dance Band said she performed along with her husband Josh several years ago under the food and beverage tent back when the Festival was held at Cape Cinema in Dennis.

“Obviously now we are thrilled to be back with the band and on the main stage,” Ayala said. She went on to express her admiration for Swain and her creation of the Cape Wellness Collaborative.

“I personally know people who have benefited immensely from this beautiful nonprofit,” Ayala said. “It is one of my favorite charities on Cape Cod, and I tell everyone I find out is going through cancer about it.”

Swain said that when she created the Cape Cod Women’s Music Festival, it was the first time she had ever attempted to put together a big event herself. She admitted the experience was absolutely terrifying at first.

“Well, it's still a little terrifying but in a good way,” Swain said. “I had no clue what I was doing, but I have had an incredible team of volunteers and we've definitely learned a lot along the way. I will be forever grateful to the musicians, local businesses, and audiences who have made not only the Cape Cod Women's Music Festival possible but enabled the non-profit Cape Wellness Collaborative to launch. I’m proud to say that 100 percent of the proceeds, including the merchandise, thanks to Kaleidoscope Imprints, and the ticket sales, thanks to Payomet Center for Performing Arts, go to supporting people on the Cape and Islands facing cancer through Cape Wellness Collaborative. Just being together with everyone and enjoying the incredible musicians makes my heart feel like it's going to burst with happiness and gratitude.

“I am annually reminded how amazing our Cape Cod community is when the music is flowing, the energy is high, and the crowd is engaged — we really know how to come together for a great time and a great cause on Cape Cod!”

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