When the members of the Valkyrie Music Collective started planning something big, a full-day livestreamed music festival wasn’t initially what they had in mind.
“We’ve been meeting over coffees and dinners for years, talking about the need for an organization to lift up women in the music industry,” says singer-songwriter Annie Fitzgerald, one of the collective’s founders. “We were gaining momentum in January—and then the pandemic hit.”
Their response: the Festival of the Valkyries, a 13-hour showcase of female and non-binary Minnesota musicians, streaming all day today on Facebook. The lineup includes Kat Perkins, Diane Miller, Annie Mack, Theyself, Ellis Delaney, the Nunnery, Venus DeMars, Jillian Rae, Gaelynn Lea, Kiss the Tiger, Faith Boblett, Mary Bue, Lena Elizabeth, Ashley Gold, Shannon Blowtorch, Joyann Parker, Mayda, Katy Vernon, Erin Grand, Julia Floberg, Julie Eddy, Davina Lozier, DJ Michel.Be, Mary Cutrufello, and Maria Isa. Whew.
Valkyrie, whose founders also include musicians Vicky Emerson, Annie Fitzgerald, Haley Rydell, and artist Jess Rau, has lined up the Current and First Avenue as promotional sponsors along with a number of local businesses and individuals. So while you’ll be able to donate to individual artists via virtual tip jars like Venmo and PayPal info during their sets, the festival will also be paying the performers a flat rate.
That’ll all be preceded by an 8:30 set from DJ Michel.Be, a 9 a.m. panel discussion, and a 10:30 a.m. keynote address by Andrea Swensson from the Current. Emerson will moderate the panel, which includes artist manager Becky Hoffmann, publicist/musician Ellen Stanley, First Avenue talent booker Grace Hall, Ordway marketing manager Shellae Mueller, sometime City Pages contributor (and now the MSP airport’s programming coordinator) Youa Vang, and DJ Michel.Be.
In the past few months, Fitzgerald herself has put in quite few hours livestreaming. “The more you do, the more you get comfortable with it,” she says of the process. “You can see people commenting, so sometimes I’ll mess up a song because I want to follow the conversation.” And though performing in a room by herself took some getting used to, “It’s sort of the same feeling as when I was starting out and no one was in the audience,” she jokes.
“When we announced this, so many people were sharing and coming forward,” she says. “It’s given us all hope and purpose.”