This Friday and Saturday, the first Siren Mountain Jam will be taking place at the High Country Fairgrounds near Boone, North Carolina.  The brainchild of Beth Carroll and Kirsten Tiedermann, Siren Mountain Jam is a celebration of women.  Complete with a line up of fantastic female artists – Joan Osborne, MeShell Ndegeocellow, and Toshi Reagon are slated to perform – and a diverse array of female artisans, healers, and dancers, women and their contribution to the arts will be in central focus.

I recently caught up with organizer Beth Carroll to chat about the inspiration behind the festival, the line up, and all that Siren Mountain Jam had to offer festival attendees.

BRO – This is the inaugural Siren Mountain Jam.  What was the inspiration behind this festival?

Beth – Kirsten and I go to a lot of festivals and enjoy lots of different types of music.  We have wondered for a while why there aren’t more women on the stage when there are, generally, so many in the crowd.  We also know so many great female musicians and women-fronted bands and had been to some older women’s festivals in the Southeast that don’t happen any longer.  While we sort of hoped someone else would throw a festival like this, we kept talking about it and we just decided to do it ourselves.  There are so many great female musicians that just don’t get the recognition they deserve.

BRO – Do you see a void in women-oriented festivals?

Beth – Well, there are some women-oriented festivals, but none that have happened in the Southeast for a while that are larger than a small local gathering, and none that have intended to be highly inclusive.  We aim to welcome everyone that is a fan of these genres of music.  There are a lot of music and art festivals that highlight really great music that seem much more male oriented and there are women’s festivals that happen far away, so we wanted to change that by having something here that would draw a crowd and be friendly to all.

BRO – You guys have a great line up for a festival coming right out of the gate.  Any of those artists that you are particularly excited to see?

Joan Osborne

Joan Osborne

Beth – Joan Osborne has been one of my favorites.  We caught her with Phil Leash and The Dead.  She’s really terrific.  But everyone playing is terrific.  That was kind of our criteria.  Good and women oriented.  We wanted people that we wanted to hear.  So, ALL of them.  Every single one of them. I am just hoping to not have to work in every other area of the festival so I can hear the music!!

BRO – The festival is not just about women and music.  What else is going to be going on?

Beth – We have a really amazing and eclectic group of female artists that will be represented there.  They create a variety of beautiful handmade items and most of them are from the local area.  We tried to have a diverse representation of the different types of art.  There will also be a healing arts village.  There will be healing arts workshops running all day on things like yoga and acupuncture.  We will also be doing a variety of different types of dancing.  We’ll have belly dancers, fire spinners, and a group doing different types of dances from around the world.  The goal was to feature a range of different types of art and not just music.

BRO – Come Monday or Tuesday or one day next week, when you are able to decompress and think back over the weekend, how do think you will know that you were able to accomplish what you wanted to accomplish with the festival?

Beth – I feel like it is already a success.  I have met such amazing people and we have put together an event that a lot of folks are excited about.  Assuming we pull it off, and everyone has a great time, it will be a success, and we aim to do it again.  If we get to the end of the festival and next week and we start talking about next year, I think that is a sign that we have succeeded.

Blue Ridge Outdoors and the folks at Siren Mountain Jam would love to give you the chance to go check out the festival this weekend on us.  Take a shot at the trivia question below and email your answer to dave@blueridgeoutdoors.com.  A lucky winner of two passes to the festival will be picked from all of the correct answers received by 12:00 tomorrow – Thursday, June 20th.  Take a shot!  Good luck!!!

Question – Which Siren Mountain Jam performer was featured on noted rocker John Mellencamp’s rendition of the Van Morrison classic “Wild Night”?