Margie Adam gave this speech at the opening evening concert of the 22nd National Women’s Music Festival, on May 31, 1997.
First, let me take this public opportunity to thank Carol Seajay (the other honoree) and the network of feminist bookstores for the essential role they have played in disseminating our beautiful Women’s Music all these years. Without bookstores like her Old Wives Tales in San Francisco, we would not be here tonight. In the critical early years of Women’s Music, its core of distribution was situated directly in her loving hands and in the hands of many other women like her all over this country.
I came to the first National Women’s Music Festival in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, in 1974, not exactly clear what I was doing there. All of the unknown artists were playing early in the week so I got there Tuesday. Roberta Flack and Yoko Ono were scheduled to play on Saturday.
Of course, as the Goddess would have it, neither Roberta Flack nor Yoko Ono showed up, so the unknowns were asked by the organizers to save the Saturday night show. Besides singing solo, these women worked up a few songs of each others’ and on Saturday night, Cris Williamson, Meg Christian, Vicki Randle and Margie Adam sang together for the first time. As they say… the rest is history.
I remember many things about that week, but in particular… two things. I remember Kay Gardner taking over the stage on Sunday with 75 women to teach us with her beautiful flute that Women’s Music is not always made with lyrics. Women’s Music is also in the music itself.
I also remember hearing Meg Christian play on Wednesday night. After the third song, I found myself putting my head in my hands, crying my eyes out… saying to myself… She is singing my life. My world was changed forever in that moment when I realized I was not alone.
My wish for each of you this weekend is that you hear your life in the music of the women playing for you here. And I hope it inspires you to take a hold of your dream, whatever it is, in the same way that the women and the music I heard at the first National Women’s Music Festival inspired me to claim the path I have been walking ever since.