Grrrl-powered, DIY-style

In case you somehow forgot, women are rad.

A group of DIY Sacramentans on a mission gathered up more than 15 performers and bands to remind you not only of the radness of women, but also of your own radness and your own ability to make a difference. The inaugural Sac LadyFest most definitely succeeded in that aim.

Cafe Colonial became a crowded hideout for badass people doing badass things as the festival ran Friday and Saturday nights, and no particular style of music dominated: Earth-mother-worshiping folk, Native American flute, riot grrrl punk, hip-hop, neurotic rock and more shone brightly alongside slam poetry and stand-up comedy. And just like the music, there wasn't a restriction on who could be there to celebrate equality, with people of all genders and sexualities hitting the stage.

DIY-ethos stood front and center throughout, with emcee Keyko Torres-Oki emphatically reminding the audience that this only happened because a few people got tired of waiting for something to show up, and yes, you too can get out there and make it happen.

That belief was exhibited in the diversity of performers, from the Spewcats of the Cuttlefish's horrifyingly amazing, Gwar-inspired, homemade space-monster costume to the well-polished production and finesse of festival closer Century Got Bars. And with the Joe Satriani-esque lone-guitar cosmic shredfest of Dolores 5000 and the projector-assisted electronic dance magic of Violent Vickie, we were all reminded that it takes just one woman with an instrument to make the world a whole lot more tolerable.

A common theme throughout was living authentically, whether that's as a person who loves in a way that society frowns upon or as a person who expresses gender in an “unacceptable” way—a quick audience poll asked how many “closets” people have had to come out of, only to end with a refrain of “Fuck closets!”

On that path of self-discovery, members of multiple bands took a moment to reflect on their experiences with coming out and feeling accepted, along with what it takes to fight that garden-variety sexism all women face. As Century Got Bars put it, “We're not just ‘girl' anything. I rap like a girl proudly.” And the audience was always ready to cheer for each proclamation of love and acceptance.

And for those who couldn't play, there were magazines for snipping scraps to build zines and messages of empowerment. Nearby, tarot readings helped attendees reflect on their futures.

LadyFest stood as a companion to all of the other LadyFests across the world, built from the ground up for the people here, by the people here. The festival welcomed and celebrated people of all intersections of identity, people facing constant challenges for simply being.

But of course, when you've got top-notch acts like the Kelps and Night Damage holding down your attention, it really makes the whole “celebration” bit a lot easier. Keep an eye out for the next Sac LadyFest in 2016 and don't be afraid to make a part of it your own.