The National Women in Blues started as a simple idea. The WiB’s CBW Michele Seidman, went to a big festival, with 55 acts on 4 stages, and only 4 women in the line up. From that moment on, she looked to others and saw WiB’s thriving in the North West, but not many other locations. Most certainly, not on radio or in the media. Michele noticed women tweaking their music and doing a wider range of genres, to get air play on stations with different formats, being offered fewer gigs, lower pay and getting bad labels for being assertive. Other genres of music seem to have plenty of women up front, right along side their male counter parts.
It seemed time to help that take place in the blues world.
In 6 weeks, the First National Women in Blues Festival was staged in Wilmington, North Carolina. That was 2006. The 2nd and 3rd festivals were staged the following consecutive years.
It was during this time that Terri Robbins joined the cause. Becoming the graphic guru and designing posters, programs, lobby cards, promotional material, and an incredible Stained Glass work of our WiB logo, that we auctioned on Ebay during our fundraising efforts of 2015. Her unique design of our logo will be in our store front, soon!
(*side note, our logo © ™ was created for us in 2006, by Alisa Harris, Image Blend, Wilmington NC. We took full ownership in 2015.)
In 2007, we worked with Jomar Records to put out a compilation CD of female artists. The list included every type of blues, and artists from the states to as far away as Australia. Well reviewed, and credited for helping several artists get their footing with more notice, in the blues genre.
2008 and multiple videographers and historians made it down to the 3rd WiB Fest. Maria V. Johnson, Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology in the School of Music at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, came to document all of the artists that played the event. Dave Dessler (RiP) of WFOS in Virginia, did on air interviews with each artist.
Danette Marie Patton made her first journey to a WiB event, to document and interview these talented women. She has continued on and made it to our 2015 Showcase, where she had the opportunity to document performances and interview the bands.
Dave, BluzNDaBlood ventured to us in 2007 & 2008. Making him one of the first radio folks to promote our cause, along with Mr & Mrs V and Nancy. The latter of which were some of the first to do feature shows on all female blues artists!
2009 and the economy in sad shape, the festival went dark, but not social media. Facebook took over where myspace left off and the group grew, as did the buzz. We continued our efforts to support, edify, promote and mentor women in blues artists, around the world.
Blues folks started pitching in. Drummer, Elizabeth Luther, artists Darlene Stimson Robb, Mary Roby of Mary4Music fame and Diane Forster, became group administrators and helped keep things on track. And more people pitched in.
By 2013, the National Women in Blues was back in action.
Thanks to the Blues Foundation (*We are proud corporate members) running the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee, it was decided we would travel to this event and stage a showcase of female blues artists. The first was a Jam in 2013, then Showcases on 2014 & 2015.
2016 will mark our 4th event during IBC, and the 1st year we take on Generation Blues, as part of our mentoring mission.
2015 treated us well. Raising funding via indiegogo, supporters and friends from around the world, helped us meet all of our goals. We were able to buy out our logo deal from the original creator, giving us freedom to create merchandise. We were able to fund our new web site and a data base (*soon to be added) of WiB’s, and come up with the money needed to file for our 501-c (more details soon). Thank you, is not enough to say. We are honored so many were willing to support this mission. It was great fun for our logo creator to allow us to buy her out via a donation to her Theatre Now “kids group”, Superstar Academy. The donations given to the WiB not only helped women in blues, it also helped a lot of kids get theatre and music training!
2015 started our branding efforts to help more women get noticed, during the IBC event. Our CBW created a necklace, carved of clay, with the WiB logo. These were given as gifts to every female blues artists we could find, during the IBC weekend. Others have been sent directly to WiB’s, or are given to them at events, from Michele & Terri.
During IBC 2015, 93 necklaces were gifted. This helped drive the point home. WiB’s were there in mass and no one could miss them in a crowd! The necklaces started cropping up, everywhere!
We will continue the WiB necklace tradition, during 2016 IBC week. Please let female blues artists know to look for us, around the IBC store! Keep an eye for the WiB logo! For those hoping to get one during another time of year, you will need to get in touch directly, with Michele or Terri. As these are given to WiB artists to help them stand out, we try to make sure they get directly in these artists hands!
THE NATIONAL WOMEN IN BLUES PROMISE
We will continue to support, edify, mentor and promote female blues artists from around the world, and do what we can to assist other Women in Blues, or Blues Women groups and organizations. It is our hope, that in numbers, we will be able to level the field for our sisters in blues.
To ALL our brothers in blues, we are always happy to share our spotlight with you!
We share! Won’t you!
2016, The National Women in Blues became a 501 (c) 3, Non Profit,
Public Charity/Private Foundation.
Effective date, November 24th, 2015
Donors may deduct contributions to the National Women in Blues under IRC Section 170. Qualified to receive tax deductable bequests, devises, transfers or gifts under (IRC) Section 2055, 2106, 2522.
The National Women in Blues
“Where women are more than a side note!”