All the performers at this year’s Busker Fest will be women

photo by: Ashley Hocking

Linsey Lindberg, performing as Strong Woman Mama Lou, tests the strength of a chain with the help of two young audience members at the Busker Festival in downtown Lawrence on Friday, May 25, 2018. She will return to the festival this spring when only women performers are featured.

A popular annual festival in downtown Lawrence is going to look a little different this year.

The 12th annual Lawrence Busker Festival, scheduled for May 24-26, will feature only female performers, organizer Richard Renner said Wednesday.

Renner decided to go with such a lineup after Linsey Lindberg, who performs at the event each year as Strong Woman Mama Lou, explained that women were often overlooked when promoters were booking similar events.

“The performer world is pretty dominated by men,” Renner said, noting that promoters would consider “female performer” as its own category rather than focusing primarily on the person’s specific talent. “I just put it out there, ‘What if we did nothing but women and showcase some of the really great performers out there?'”

He said Lindberg, who will return to perform this spring but may be retiring from the event in the near future had always been a good role model for other women and girls.

“It would be nice if we could get some more role models here for those girls,” Renner said. “Hopefully we will find some equally awesome and bizarre person.”

More than 20 acts will join Lindberg to perform in five locations throughout downtown. Musicians, magicians, jugglers, contortionists, comedians, fire performers and other street-performing women will showcase their talents at Busker Fest, he said.

Some returning performers will include stunt woman Martika Daniels and juggler and fire performer Bekah Smith. New performers will include variety show comedian Sharon Mahoney, bottle balancer and lasso performer Molly Keczan, acrobatic archer Sara Twister and hula-hoop performer Sarah Kunz.

Additionally, Renner said the event would offer free co-sponsorship opportunities to nonprofit organizations focused on issues that affect women and children.

“We’re trying to increase the visibility of their services,” he said. “Here’s a chance to reach the people who come to our shows.”


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