Five Fabulous Years of Fabulosa Fest

Jul 16, 2012 by

Five Fabulous Years of Fabulosa Fest

by Heather Cassell

Hundreds of women will head to the fifth annual Fabulosa Fest to camp out and frolic in the sun listening to great music, check out crafts and attend workshops, swim in the creek, and maybe even partake in a little mud wrestling at Walker Creek Ranch in Sonoma County, CA on July 20 – 22.

“It’s so exciting,” says Judea Eden, co-producer of Fabulosa Fest. “We love being a part of this whole movement to support women.”

Guests get to enjoy a variety of entertainment from comedy to spoken word and music from blues to rock, says Judea. The only music that hasn’t been featured at the festival is heavy metal and punk rock.

The lineup of women entertainers is hotter than ever this year with Sistas In The Pitthe Patsychords (a Patsy Cline tribute band), Tru Bloo and Wanda Kruda, to name a few.

DJs Miss Pop and Brown Amy of Hard French will be spinning the grooves at Saturday’s Barn Dance and Oldies Party at the Lake, respectively.

Then there’s the outdoor activities and workshops.

Street Pilates, Beginner’s Photography Class, Soul Story Project, Happily Ever After 101, are just some of the free workshops that guests can attend Saturday and Sunday.

The fabulous rise

The annual crafts and music campout launched in 2008 in Guerneville to promote women, particularly women artists, and raise money for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and women’s causes in the San Francisco Bay Area. The festival moved to Walker Creek Ranch outside of Petaluma, CA in 2010. Inspired by other California women’s music festivals and the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, and their own philanthropic ventures, partners in life and producers Dawn Hawkins, owner of El Rio and Judea, front woman for the Judea Eden Band, teamed up with Jenny Hoyston, an international musician, bringing together nearly 60 years of promotion power and festival experience to bring their vision to life.

Judea Eden of the Judea Eden Band performing at the first Fabulosa Fest in 2008. (Photo Credit: Jenny Hoyston)

Judea Eden of the Judea Eden Band performing at the first Fabulosa Fest in 2008. (Photo Credit: Jenny Hoyston)

Dawn hosts the bar while Judea and her band and Jenny perform at the festival. This year, Judea, who also is owner and a nutrition consultant of Eden Health and Wellness, will also conduct nutrition workshops during the day.

A team of up to 30 volunteers help with the fundraisers leading up to the event and during the festival that continues to improve each year thanks to attendees feedback, Judea says.

A twist to this festival is that women-owned businesses are provided with free vendor space skirting the main stage and 100 percent of the proceeds after production expenses go directly to the select local LGBT and women’s organizations. The producers have given thousands of dollars to organizations during the past five years, says Judea.

“Dawn and I … we’ve been fundraising for years,” says Judea, who is spokeswoman for the festival, wouldn’t disclose how much it costs to produce the event. “We both care about the community. It’s a way that we can give back to our communities and so it was a no brainer for us.”

She adds that all of the producers have day jobs and therefore aren’t making a living producing the event, which makes taking time to care for herself and time management a challenge.

“The biggest challenge is trying to take care of yourself while you are fulfilling your dreams and really doing what drives you passionately,” says Judea, who juggles her day job as a business manager with her band, Fabulosa Fest, launching her new career in nutrition, and her more than five year relationship with Dawn.

“I happen to have a lot of energy,” she says laughing, but full of gratitude to be able to bring joy to people’s lives through Fabulosa Fest and her music. “I have a purpose here that is purposeful. I think that a lot of us are looking for something to do that brings purpose to our life, otherwise why are we here?”

The challenge and the joy of following her heart is the “biggest gift of all” and that keeps her motivated, she says.

During the past five years the festival has attracted upwards of more than 300 women and it continues to grow.

Women with their families and friends (including men) have the option to camp or upgrade to shared or private cabins that are wheelchair accessible. Also, unlike other women’s music festivals the ranch hosts an organic cafeteria that caters to various dietary needs, a top notch bar is available.

“People raved about the food last year,” says Judea, adding that for an entire weekend for one person – including food, entertainment, lodging, and workshops – costs anywhere from $180 up to $360.

For the second year in a row the festival will host a special kid’s space where children’s musician Amy Myers will conduct music classes for children and parents and host a concert for the tots.

Fabulosa Fest gals, left to right, Lou Fisher, Amy Myers, and Iris Mansour. go all country. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Lou Fischer)

Fabulosa Fest gals, left to right, Lou Fisher, Amy Myers, and Iris Mansour. go all country. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Lou Fischer)

“We love where we are at now too. The Walker Creek Ranch is amazing,” says Judea, gushing with excitement about the business people giving back to the community by hosting free workshops for guests, the entertainment, and women coming together to get to make new friends.

Judea hopes that Fabulosa Fest continues to grow.

“I think for Fabulsa Fest just to keep growing to be able to make a bigger impact and help more women,” she says, imagining the possibilities. “The more people that come the more exposure that these women businesses, [crafters and artists] will have and God if this continued to grow and became a big deal then we could do it fulltime and have a much bigger impact on our community.”
Weekend and day passes are available online and at the gate. To get your ticket, visit http://fabulosafest.com/purchase-tickets/.

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