The second annual Ladies First! will take place at LIVE on Elgin Saturday night January 9th.
Ladies First! also marks the 4th anniversary of RockSteady Booking. RockSteady Bookings was founded by Andrea Desjardins in December 15th, 2011, and is a company that is fuelled by a passion for music. RockSteady works with local musicians booking shows and other various events, but the ultimate goal is to expose fans and followers to the local scene of talented, hard-working musicians Ottawa and surrounding areas has to offer.
Ladies First! will feature some talented local acts such as Riishi Von Rex, Coccinella, and Amanda Lowe. Rounding out the line up is Maya Killtron from Toronto and Ghostly Hounds from Montreal. Taking the event to the next level, RockSteady Booking has partnered up with Harmony House Women’s Shelter in Ottawa to help raise awareness regarding the services and options available to women who are hoping to escape abuse and violence.
In honour of the occasion, we had a quick chat with Andrea Desjardins.
Ladies First came to be in 2014 when I was thinking of a fun way to celebrate RockSteady Booking’s (RSB) third anniversary. I wanted to have an event that was different than any other event I had up until then. I thought about the reasons I had gotten into booking promoting music in the first place, and the main reason was to be a driving force for the growth of Ottawa music. I then thought about what makes RSB different from other booking groups in the city, and one of the main obvious differences is that I am a female.
I don’t think about that often, if it all, because to me it does not matter what gender or age you are. If you are doing something that is going to benefit Ottawa music then that’s all that matters. But it made me think of how cool it would be to have a show that celebrates females in the Ottawa music scene, and what better way to celebrate the anniversary of a company run by a female. Thus, the idea of “Ladies First” was born.
The 2014 edition was branded as RSB Turns 3 and I used the hashtag #LadiesFirst when promoting it. Once I saw how well the event did and how positive the reaction was from both performers and patrons alike, I knew it had to be an annual thing. Last year, the focus was more so on RSB’s anniversary and celebrating that, whereas this year, the emphasis is on the women of music. The other aspect of this year’s edition that differentiates it from last year is that this year, the event is partnered up with Harmony House Women’s Shelter. They are a second stage women’s shelter that provides safe, affordable transitional housing for women and children who are survivors of violence. While this event is not a full-blown fundraiser in the sense that all the proceeds will be going to the shelter, a portion of the proceeds as well as any donations made at the event will be going to them. A representative from the organization will also be on site and have a booth set up to give more information to those interested.
When I decided I wanted to partner up with a women’s organization of some kind for this event, my first thought was to go to Google and see what kind of resources we have in Ottawa for women in need. I especially wanted an organization who focused on helping women who have dealt with abuse and/or violence in some way because I think it’s an important issue that everyone could use more information about.
There have been so many stories and events surrounding violence against women, such as the subject of missing and murdered Indigenous women. While doing something like this is just a small drop in a vast pond, I feel it’s important to do my part and help bring violence and abuse against women to the forefront. One of the first search results that caught my eye was Harmony House. The fact that they are the only second stage shelter in Ottawa appealed to me because it means they probably have their work cut out for them trying to support and help all the women and children who are transitioning out of an abusive home. I think they deserve a lot of credit and this is just a small way that I can hopefully help bring more attention and awareness to their organization.
In short, girl power. The lineup consists of five extremely talented acts; Coccinella are a 3 piece all female blues pop band, Ghostly Hounds are a folk group out of Montreal fronted by the talented Francesca Daoust, Amanda Lowe is a prominent acoustic solo artist from Ottawa and she will also be the host for the evening, Riishi Von Rex frontwoman Riishi Von Rex will be performing solo, and Toronto based electro/hip hop/pop solo artist Maya Killtron will be hitting the stage. LIVE on Elgin is a great, intimate venue and is the perfect place to host an event like this, so expect great service from their bar staff and lots of room to dance. They also have seating which is great to have available for those who like to enjoy music while sitting comfortable, I know I do.
Donations to Harmony House can be made at the event so make sure you bring some cash and help support a great cause!
Ladies First! goes Saturday January 9 at 8 pm at LIVE on Elgin! and is a 19+ event. Tickets are available online for $5 plus service charges here or $10 at the door. You can find more information on their Facebook event.