The Ladybug Festival is the largest celebration of women in music in America. Started in 2012 by Gayle Dillman and Jeremy Hebbel (Gable Music Ventures), the idea was to offer an alternative to Firefly Festival that was focussed on local independent artists, and free for the community to attend. Michael and Debbie Schwartz, owners of the popular Shops and Lofts at 2nd & LOMA, engaged Gable Music Ventures to throw a live music block party for their tenants shortly after Firefly was announced. Gable used the timing of the request to put on the first ever “Ladybug Festival” featuring an all female lineup of artists local to the Wilmington/Philadelphia music scene. The event was well received, with approximately 300 attendees packing five of the businesses on LOMA leading to a huge boost in business for the restaurants and shops that participated. Siezing on the positive response, Gayle and Jeremy decided they would hold the evet annually. Over time outdoor stages were added, more artists every were added every year, including eventually nationally known acts. This growth would not have been possible without the support of the community, and the sponsors that came on board, specifically the local Kenny Family ShopRite stores, and Chase bank who's presenting sponsorship in 2017 helped the event grow to a two day long event featuring 75 artists.
In 2018 the event expanded to add a second location, the charming city of Milford, Delaware about 75 miles south of Wilmington. Downtown Milford Inc. was vital in this expansion, acting as a community partner and assisting Gable Music in raising sponsorship funds and getting the investment of the city. Both the Wilmington, and Milford events in 2018 exceeded all expectations and both were renewed with increased sponsorship support for 2019. In 2019 the Wilmington event featured 100 artists over two days, and Milford featured over 40 artists.
The event has won several awards including the "Homey Award" for best concert/event from WSTW Hometown Heroes five times, and the Milford event won best new event from Southern Delaware Tourism in 2018.
As the event has grown Gable Music Ventures has become even more inspired to make an impact for women in the music industry. The 2017 Firefly lineup was announced with only 17 of the 95 acts performing being female or female fronted, and they aren’t alone, with major festivals across the country heavily featuring male acts. The Ladybug Festival not only exclusively hires female artists, or female fronted bands, but we do our best to hire as many women for available positions on festival staff.
COVID-19 forced us to produce the 2020 event virtually and we certainly made the best of a bad situation. We featured some of our favorite artists, and were able to include artists from around the world. Our plans for 2021 are up in the air but we are working hard to find a way to hold the event in person safely this summer.
Mary Lambert was a late addition not shown on the poster for this year.
2017 (night one)
2017 (night two)
2020 Event held virtually due to COVID-19