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Lilith Fair Coming to San Diego

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Lilith Fair Coming to San Diego

Jewel performing at Lilith Fair in 1997

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Sarah McLachlan's hugely successful Lilith Fair only ran from 1997 to 1999. This means that the festival has been gone for five times as long as it ever existed. Gone, but certainly not forgotten.

McLachlan, a '90s-era folk singer who also hasn't done much since Lilith Fair's heyday, started it to challenge stations and promoters who refused to feature two female musicians in a row. This year, Lilith Fair is returning to cities all across North America, including sunny San Diego.

Some are asking "Why?" In the recent article "Do We Need Lilith Fair in 2010?," Sleater-Kinney guitarist Carrie Brownstein pointed out that women artists were responsible for the majority of "Billboard" hits during the last 10 years. Brownstein named Beyonce/Destiny's Child, Britney Spears, Pink, Rihanna and Kelly Clarkson as examples of an interesting fact: Since Lilith Fair's retirement, women have basically succeeded in breaking the stranglehold that men typically held on the popular music charts.

So do we need Lilith Fair? When it comes to Top 40, Brownstein said, nope. But what about the rest of music?

That's where the newly resurrected Lilith Fair comes in. It's tough to look at a lineup that includes Cat Power, Metric, Tegan & Sara and Brandi Carlile (among many others) and call it inessential. These women may not be gracing Billboard's fancy-pants charts, but they are some of the most celebrated performers who aren't Beyonce or Britney. Put them all together and you have one hell of a lineup.

Additionally, the 2010 Lilith Fair -- while already having booked "a large number of diverse artists ... with more major announcements coming" -- will be seeking out local talent from each city on the tour. Maybe San Diego's American Idol contestant Katharine McPhee will make an appearance. Or you.

In her article, Brownstein complained that past Lilith Fairs tended to ignore "the freakier, the louder and the more obscure," which is what led Sleater-Kinney to decline an invitation to play 10 years ago. But now, Brownstein writes, the mere fact that the Gossip is in the lineup further demonstrates that things have changed since the '90s.

Details about the festival are still pretty scant, but it looks to be something that -- while it features an all-female lineup -- has the potential to appeal to everyone. We'll keep you posted on the San Diego show date(s) and any other developments.

T. Loper is a writer for the San Diego music blog Owl and Bear.

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