Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Terry McBride: The God of the Goddesses

It seems that the goddesses of female music are finally smiling down upon me. My previous blog post dealt exclusively with the history of Lilith, after I discovered just how few SU students had heard of it. It may not have been very evident from my last post, but my excitement was uncontrollable when I heard the news of the Lilith revival not two weeks before my post.

And as if the news that I was finally able to witness the glory of Lilith Fair wasn’t exciting enough, at the peak of my excitement I was informed that Terry McBride was giving a lecture here at Syracuse. Terry McBride; the co founder of Lilith Fair, the person who worked with Sarah McLachlan to bring this feminist music Mecca to life, was going to be speaking here.

My previous writing was based on the written history of Lilith as acquired through my research. But lucky for you all, I am now pleased to relay the information which I learned directly from Terry McBride himself. His segment on Lilith Fair focused mostly on comparing what he called “The Old Lilith” to the soon to be revealed “New Lilith.”

Now before I launch into the tale of my evening of rapture, let me remind you: Terry is a man. He is a high-powered, male music executive. As surprising as it may be, it is also incredibly encouraging to see that the person who drove such a crucial piece of the feminist movement, an event that has practically become synonymous with feminism, is not even a woman. He put this event together because he loves good music. And he doesn’t see gender as a part of the equation that determines good versus bad. Which means that this man is very much our ally. So now that you have been properly warned; get ready to fall in love.

The main discrepancy in my historical account of Lilith was my lack of acknowledgement of the festival’s charitable involvement. From the way in which he spoke of his creation, it is clear that Terry is most proud of the astonishing ten million dollars that Lilith was able to donate to women’s aid organizations. One dollar from every ticket—and this system is to remain in place for the upcoming Lilith—is kept and donated to a charity that helps women. And at the first Lilith show, over fifteen thousand people showed up.

McBride plans to take it to a whole new level this time around. The New Lilith will focus even more on the charity aspect of the event, selecting four or five for profit organizations who show promise to achieve great things and sponsoring them.

Doesn’t sound too charitable? Think again. These businesses will be brought on the road with Lilith, setting up tents and advertising what they do at all of the concerts. Then these for profit organizations will donate portions of their proceeds to non-profit organizations, which are selected by a local talent search of sorts.

For McBride, it’s all about sustainability. His biggest disappointment from the old Lilith was the fact that although it was wildly successful and brought massive amounts of awareness when it was first created, only a few years after the last tour ended, so too did their work. People seemed to forget about it, and the charities they had helped to support were on their own again. They left a legacy, certainly, but not one with much proof of existence. McBride wants to change that this time around. His fresh approach promises to make Lilith a permanent fixture in the minds of great music festivals and great charity excursions.

Emmery Brakke is a sophomore in VPA. She can be reached at ewbrakke@syr.edu.

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