It's that time of year again. On Saturday, May 12 the sixth annual Cape Cod Women's Music Festival (CCWMF) will once again light up the stage – and the outdoor tent – at The Cape Playhouse in Dennis. This year's lineup is sure to bring down the house while raising funds for Cape Wellness Collaborative (CWC) to provide free integrative therapies to those facing cancer on Cape Cod and the Islands. This year, with CWC founder, CEO and Harwich resident Sarah Swain newly back on dry land and inspired after a six-month family sailing adventure, the CCWMF will be an earth friendly, plastic-free event.
Swain calls the family's adventure an incredibly bonding experience which also opened her eyes to the amount of plastic litter present in our oceans and the harm it inflicts on sea life. One morning, while enjoying a pre-dawn coffee aboard The Flying Fish as the rest of the family slept, she was struck with an idea.
“I gasped out loud and realized that we could not have single-use plastics at the CCWMF,” Swain explained. “Just the thought of ordering hundreds of bottles of water, single-use-disposable cutlery, bowls, straws, plates, wine cups and solo cups made me shudder. But could we pull it off? An event for over 500 people with merchandise, food, beer, wine and drinking water?”
The answer is a resounding yes, with a little help from the CCWMF's friends. Swain's first order of business was to run her idea by those in charge of the event's trash and recycling. Kara Boulé from Nauset Disposal responded enthusiastically, with ideas and connections to help make the plan a success. Steve Karras from Kaleidoscope Imprints, inc. will help with plastic-free merchandise and other ideas, as will Beth Marcus from Cape Cod Beer, and Rory Eames from Organic Market will provide compostable goods for event vendors. Others helping to make the plastic-free dream a reality are Compost with Me, Corner Store, Underground Bakery, Whole Foods, VERS and Ben and Jerry's of Hyannis.
“How lucky we are to have people and businesses like these in our community!” Swain said.
With the plastic-free plan taking shape, CCWMF attendees can focus on the original intent of the event: raising money for the CWC while enjoying an incredible day of music. The lineup, announced by celebrity impersonator emcee Scott Townshend, aka Thirsty Burlington, will include local performers Jo&Co, Molly Parmenter, Out Late with Dana DiGioia, Quartet Giacosa (featuring female members of Cape Symphony and Tianna Esperanza. Los Angeles band Roses and Cigarettes will be in the house featuring singer Jenny Pagliaro, who also blogs about living with stage IV breast cancer. Ruby Rose Fox will return by popular demand, ensuring that the sixth annual CCWMF will be a show to remember.
“We mix it up from year to year,” Swain said. “Cape Codders are serious about their music and we have to rise to the occasion. This is actually the first year we are repeating a main act, Ruby Rose Fox, who just tore the roof off Cape Playhouse last year...we all needed more! And this year we have two performers who both happen to be cancer survivors, Diana DiGioia (who is also a CWC acupuncture practitioner) and Jenny Pagliaro. The words 'brave and inspiring' don't even come close to doing her justice. We are always crazy excited about the lineup and this year is no exception. Molly Parmenter is such an engaging local music hero and Tianna Esperanza is a young artist who has such a bright and exciting future in music ahead of her!”
In the past three years, the CCWMF has raised over $80,000 to support the CWC. (The first two CCWMF events which took place before the CWC raised funds for other cancer initiatives.) Swain describes the growth and evolution of the event over the years as a “beautiful blur.”
“We have learned so, so much,” Swain said. “Our goal is to get a little better every year. This is a volunteer-driven event and we have people who have given their time to CCWMF year after year – we could not have grown so much without every one of them. Having the opportunity to have this event at the iconic and magical Cape Playhouse is just dreamy. This will be our third year there and we are thrilled to play music in that hallowed space!”
The most important thing for people to know about the CCWMF, according to Swain, is twofold: how talented, diverse, driven and passionate the performers are and that all of the funds raised at the CCWMF stay within the community to help our friends, family and neighbors facing cancer through the CWC. The CWC has served clients for just over two years, and in that time the organization has helped over 240 people with over $120,000 in integrative therapies. It's no accident that the festival is held on or near Mother's Day to honor all moms, as the event was inspired by and created in memory of Swain's own mother, who passed away from ovarian cancer.
“For me personally, CCWMF and CWC is a place where I am able to trade in feelings of grief and powerlessness for empowerment and love,” Swain said. “The festival has the best audience in the world. The energy and love that fills up that room is magical. Musicians have actually been moved to tears after their performances. Connections and friendships happen backstage, and after the festival we have seen many acts perform together and generally support each other.”
The 2018 Cape Cod Women's Music Festival will raise the roof on Saturday, May 12 at The Cape Playhouse, 820 Main St. (Route 6A) in Dennis. The tent will open at 5:30 p.m., while the show on the main stage begins at 7 p.m. General admission is $40, VIP admission is $120. Beer, wine and food will be available for purchase in the tent. Tickets are available for purchase via Cape Playhouse at capecodwomensmusicfestival.com.