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Sept. 15 - 22, 2000


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Women everywhere

Est Fest Two explodes from
Worcester to Weymouth to the Web

by Laura Kiritsy

Patty Keough The Estrogen Festival is a musical free-for-all and fundraiser that will put more than 20 New England female acts on stage at a handful of regional venues throughout the month of September. A diverse roster of performers, spanning acoustic powerhouses Chris and Meredith Thompson to regional rocker Ellyn Fleming to New York's Edie Carey will take the Est Fest to Worcester's Java Hut and Cool Beans, Somerville's Kirkland Café, the Sit 'n Bull Pub, in Maynard, and all the way down to the New Song Folk Club in South Weymouth

The Estrogen Festival is brainchild of local folk-songstress and Worcester Phoenix Best Music Poll nominee Patty Keough. The concept sprang from Keough's desire to see more women under the spotlight at the Java Hut's anything-goes Thursday open stage. As the ringmaster for the weekly event for about two years Keough noted, "There weren't a lot of women coming out to the open mic. It was very male dominated. I'm definitely not into `women's music' or `men's music' -- it's just all music. So it was `Hey let's try to get some of the chicks out here and let them know it's okay.' . . . . There was so much interest that I figured we could collect a little money and give it to a good cause." Last Fall's weekend-long event, which featured folk superstar Mary Gauthier, raised about $265 for Worcester's Children's Friend, a youth-counseling and advocacy center.

Keough, whose CD Watching the World is forthcoming ("It's 99.9 percent in the can."), nurtured her own music career by performing at and booking shows for the Java Hut. Over the past 12 months, she's worked her ever-widening connections, and Est Fest exploded into an event of Locobazooka proportions. "All of a sudden when I put the call out this year it was huge -- I couldn't believe how many people emailed me back. I kind of had an inkling. . . . I was really very gratified by everybody climbing on board."

Proceeds from this year's Est Fest will benefit SPIN (Stray Pets in Need), a Wellesley animal shelter that provides strays waiting for adoption with temporary homes and veterinary care, as well as spaying and neutering services to low-income pet owners. Keough, an animal activist, hopes to raise awareness through the Est Fest about animal rights in a non-confrontational, "sane" way. (No throwing blood at fur-coat wearing festival attendees!)

"People like freak out and run away from you because you're like some radical nut-case," she says, referring to the guerrilla tactics some animal activists use to spread their message. "They think you're putting animals above people. They think you're crazy -- sitting at home with no electricity."

This year's Est Fest roster boasts the likes of NY singer/songwriter Edie Carey, who recently released her second CD Call Me Home, and another sister act -- repeat offenders from last year's show Tara and Hannah Greenblatt. But Keough is most jazzed about the appearance of Worcester's own Next Best Thing, 20-year old Jentri, who will grace the stages of the Java Hut on September 16 and the Sit 'n Bull on September 23.

"She's unbelievable," enthuses Keough. "She just rocked the house the first time she played the open stage"

Second Annual
Estrogen Festival

Friday, September 15, from 6 p.m. to midnight in order of appearance: Patty Keough, Jentri, Erica Mackenzie Smith, Jamie O'Brien, Chris and Meredith Thompson, and Melissa Morris. At the Java Hut, 1073A Main Street, Worcester, (508) 752-1678.

Saturday, September 16, from 6 p.m. to midnight, in order of appearance: Liz Stahler, Brenda Evans, Jane Fallon, Vanessa Trien, Julie Woods, and Kaydi Johnson. At the Java Hut.

Sunday, September 17, from 9 p.m. to midnight: Patty Keough and Ellyn Fleming. At the Kirkland Cafe, 425 Washington Street, Somervile, (617) 491-9640.

Saturday, September 23, at 8:30 p.m.: Jentri and Wake Up Jonny. At the Sit 'n Bull Pub, 163 Main Street, Maynard, (978) 897-4667.

Thursday, September 28, from 5 to 6 p.m. on www.radioboston.com: Patty Keough, Vanessa Trien, Tara and Hannah Greenblatt.

Thursday, September 28: Tiffany Park, Antara, Juli Ford, Tara and Hannah Greenblatt, and Edie Carey. At the New Song Folk Club, 1047 Front Street, Weymouth, (781) 335-0249.

Friday, September 29: Patty Keough, Jentri, Laura Wood, and Vickie Russell. At the New Song Folk Club.

Saturday, September 30, from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m.: Adrienne Jones, 13th Confession, Jentri, Kathy Fleischman, Patty Keough, Jeannie Wolff Gagne, and Heidi Batchelder. At Cool Beans, 99 Green Street, Worcester, (508) 752-2326. Simulcast on

For more information, visit www.pattykeough.com/

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