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Tulsa holds first female music festival

Honey Caranzo / Red Dirt Report
Music festival attendees watch Casii Stephen and the Midnight Sun perform on stage.
Fertile Ground Compost Service

TULSA, Okla. — Hundreds gathered last Saturday at the River West Festival Park for the first female music festival in Tulsa.

MisFEST is an all-female music festival designed to empower women to succeed in the music industry and support the YWCA and River Parks of Tulsa.

The line up included Annie Oakley, Vagittarius, Rachel La Vonne, KALO, Casii Stephen, Fiawna Forte and Branjae.

MisFEST co-founder Amira Al-Jiboori said she hopes it will become an annual music festival.

Al-Jiboori is also a percussionist for singer-songwriter Casii Stephen.

The idea for an all female music festival began when Casii Stephen and the Midnight Sun entered the music scene late 2015, early 2016.

“We started to see all this talent and didn’t really see that anybody was doing anything necessarily together from the female perspective,” she said.

The music group noticed there was a lack of female showcases and headliners in Tulsa.

“We just weren’t noticing anything was going on that was really showcasing the amount of female talent we have here in Tulsa,” Al-Jiboori said.

Their goal had originally been to plan an evening showcase featuring female artists.

Despite their plan falling through, they never gave up on the idea of an all-female showcase.

In the summer of 2016, they were approached by River Parks Authority Event Coordinator Ryan Howell to do a music festival instead of an evening showcase.

Al-Jiboori explained their vision for the music festival was not only to empower women but also to bring the female artist community together.

She said they kept diversity in mind when selecting the artists. 

“A lot of times women get put into a box. This is what you’re supposed to sound like this is what you’re supposed to look like, this is how you’re supposed to perform,” Al-Jiboori said. “We are all very different, we’re musicians, we’re artists, we each express that differently . . . so diversity was a very big thing we wanted to highlight.”

Singer-songwriter Casii Stephan said it was an honor to be part of the music festival.

“It’s a beautiful thing to be a part of this and to see something you thought was just an idea from your brain come to life, it’s amazing,” she said.

Stephan said the music festival had nothing to do with politics.

“This is just about appreciating women in this town who make art and encouraging them and empowering them,” she said.

Al-Jiboori reiterated the event was birthed out of a desire to showcase local female artists and had nothing to do with politics.

“It was never meant to be political, the political climate happened to change,” she said.

She explained the idea for the music festival was brewing way before the presidential election and the International Women’s March.

Their goal was to show the community the local female talent by providing them a platform to showcase their talents.

Her hope is to eventually have a national headliner perform. 

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Honey Caranzo

Honey Caranzo graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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