Flagstaff is known as a community that revolves around the support of both artistic and lifestyle freedoms. From women’s rights marches to environmental clubs and film festivals, there is a constant celebratory atmosphere in the air. This ambiance of celebration is a contagious vibe that flows through the streets.
As a means of continuing to broaden the scope of inclusion within Flagstaff, founder of Sold Out Productions and lead singer/guitarist of Sol Drop Kathryn Meyers carefully pieced together an entire day dedicated to promoting the importance of each individual’s identity: the Flagstaff Femme Fest.
Inside an off-campus apartment, Kathryn Meyers, Sean Buechel and Brian Dorsey — all three parts to Flagstaff funk-punk band, Sol Drop — take a…
When explaining how she selected the title Femme Fest, Kathryn says, “I wanted it to demonstrate that everyone is welcome and everyone's identity is important. There are many ways to define and connect with the word ‘femme.’ To me, it's a broad term that anyone, especially people who are women, trans, non-binary and/or queer, can use to label and express gender identity. Femme is tied to femininity. Identity, especially gender identity, lies on a spectrum, so one word is never really enough.”
In an effort to ensure Meyers’ vision came to life, Planned Parenthood of Arizona quickly hopped on board in supporting her efforts.
“It sounded like a great event for visibility and having a space where you could be heard, to give a platform for femme-identifying people,” says Planned Parenthood Flagstaff’s representative, Desiree Perez. “It seemed too important to not get involved.”
Planned Parenthood will have a table where they can inform attendees of all the organization has to offer. They will have representatives available to share information, help people register to vote and support people of all identities.
The association's neighborhood organizer, Norma Jimenez, will be speaking about her personal experience with being a DACAmented, intersectional feminist. In promoting intersectional feminism, Jimenez will be focusing on bringing understanding to how women’s overlapping identities of race, class, sexual orientation and more impact their oppression.
“What’s so beautiful about this event is that it’s lifting up femme-identified voices and bringing understanding to the fact that feminism isn’t just involving white heterosexual women in the same way Planned Parenthood isn’t just a place that offers help to white hetero women. It’s a place that accepts people regardless of class, race, sexual orientation, et cetera,” says Perez.
In an effort to further understand the meaning of what it is to be femme, two members of the community, who have adopted the identity for themselves, put their views into perspective.
Flagstaff resident Drayla Vanrachack says, “I identify as a non-binary. I don’t identify as trans because I don’t quite conform to what womanhood is, but what I do identify with is femininity. Being a trans-femme person, a lot of aspects of my life are about empowering femininities and being femme, because it is so often looked down upon to be feminine. It’s viewed as weak.” Drayla continues, “Femme Fest is going to be important because it’s empowering all these identities that are often looked down upon.”
Elijah Costales Chevalier, a speaker at the fest, agrees.
“It’s really important for us to share our identities, our narratives. For me, I’ve shared a lot about my own journey in the past so I’m going to speak more on colonialism and race and identity,” says Costales. “History of generational trauma and colonization has changed the way, literally, that people can perceive and identify themselves.”
To further exemplify just how significant this event is, there are 14 bands and an array of speakers, poets and other artists who have joined forces with Meyers to breathe life into the awareness of the importance that comes with identity.
The lineup will include nationally-known bands such as Go Betty Go as well as Sol Drop, The Glam Skanks and Bad Cop/Bad Cop.
The day-long event offers a little something for everyone. From its initial launch at Firecreek Roaster in the morning until sundown, all ages are welcomed and encouraged to come enjoy multiple forms of artistry and be a part of an event that emphasizes unity. Once the night rolls in, people of ages 16 and up will still be able to partake in the remainder of festivities.
Meyers says, “I just want to make the day as inclusionary as possible.”
Femme Fest starts with yoga at 11 a.m. at Firecreek Roasting on Saturday, February 10th, then carries on to Firecreek Coffee at 1 p.m. before ending at Green Room from 7-11 p.m. To find out more information and to see the full schedule for the day, go to www.soldoutproductionsflg.com/flagstaff-femme-fest. Tickets are $15 online.
Planned Parenthood, Chula, Reverend Guitars, D’Addario & Co, Custom Sound Instruments, Thomas Byers Guitar Studio and Rov Rideship are all sponsors of the first ever Femme Fest in Flagstaff.