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EVENINGS OUT

 

Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
June 15, 2007

Ohio Lesbian Festival lives

 

Columbus--Despite doubt in recent months, the Ohio Lesbian Festival will return on September 8 to celebrate its 18th anniversary with an infusion of new blood.

Presented for the last 17 years by the Lesbian Business Association, this year’s event will see the introduction of a partnership with JetGirl Productions, who have been putting on parties in Columbus for the past year.

“They wanted to do some stuff that needed an outdoor venue, so it seemed like a good match,” said Chris Cozad of the LBA, co-chair of the 2007 Ohio Lesbian Festival.

The festival had languished in a bit of a rut for the last few years. The last two installments had lost money, and the four years before that, it had broken even.

Earlier this year, no new organizers stepped forward to help with planning and executing the day-long event at Frontier Ranch in Kirkersville, and most of the women involved had been working on the festival for over a decade.

“The bottom line is that someone needs to agree to be the coordinator or chair. It’s somebody who sort of shepherds the rest of the group--the follow-up phone calls, making sure things get done,” Cozad said in April, after the first town hall meeting to determine the future of the Ohio Lesbian Festival. “There is no one at this point who has volunteered for that role, and quite frankly that is the key element. If we don’t have someone who is willing to take on that level of leadership and take on those elements, we won’t get off the ground.”

An idea emerged in a conversation with her friend Christie Whisman, one of the organizers of JetGirl Productions.

“She knew it was in danger of going away, and she said, ‘We’d love to get involved,’” Cozad noted.

With the influx of new ideas, changes at the festival are inevitable, many of them reflecting issues brought forward at the town hall meetings.

Cozad said that they are looking at making the festival more inclusive, and they are toying around with the idea of a name change, but there is nothing official on that yet.

“I think you’re going to see more variety from the stages, more local performers--and by local, I mean Ohio,” Cozad said. “We are looking into the possibility of a second stage, doing more things with spoken word, video and things like that.”

“I think we’re going to see some interesting new approaches,” she concluded. “It’s not gonna be your grandmother’s lesbian festival any more.”

The festival is looking for performers, workshop presenters and merchants for the crafts area. Performers should send a demo CD and a press packet to LBA, P.O. Box 82086, Columbus, Ohio 43202. Merchants and presenters can contact the LBA through their website at www.ohiolba.org.

 

 

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