Lilith Fair is returning to the festival fold in 2010 after an 11 year absence, and the first batch of performers has been announced. As with past iterations of the ladies-only traveling circus, founder Sarah McLachlan will anchor the bill, which also features Mary J. Blige, Sheryl Crow, Colbie Caillat, Erykah Badu, Tegan and Sara and Ke$ha.
Dates haven’t been announced yet and more artists will be announced soon, but based on the initial list, it’s amazing how many of the women participating were also on the bill over a decade ago. Crow was a part of both the 1998 and 1999 versions of Lilith Fair, and Badu was also on the tour in ’98. Other return acts include Tegan & Sara and the Indigo Girls.
On the one hand, it’s a testament to those artists who have managed to continue to make relevant music over the past 10 years. A quick look at the roster from the 1999 version of the tour shows that many of those artists (Shawn Colvin, Luscious Jackson, Deborah Cox, Patty Griffin) are either no longer making music or doing so on much smaller stages. Or take a look at the press conference MTV News attended back in 1998 — have you heard from Meredith Brooks lately?
At the same time, aren’t there plenty of young women making interesting music who could fill out the bill without having to bring Emmylou Harris back for another go-round? The younger faction is represented by Colbie Caillat and Sara Bareilles, both of whom seem to have been custom-built for Lilith Fair. Ke$ha offers an interesting pop alternative, but when the rest of the lineup is fleshed out (in the past, as many as 80 acts were booked for rotating spots on the festival), McLachlan would do well to attract some true weirdos to the mix, like St. Vincent, Bat for Lashes, Florence and the Machine and Neko Case.