Chickfest celebrates Rochester’s female musicians | Musical Features

Pink tribute band Funhouse will headline the 2024 Chickfest event presented by Three Heads Brewing. - Photo by Aaron Winters

  • Photo by Aaron Winters
  • Pink tribute band Funhouse will headline the 2024 Chickfest event presented by Three Heads Brewing.

Until recently, the only local events celebrating female musicians were limited to classical music, not popular music. But that changes with the arrival of Chickfest 2023, an all-day festival focusing on female musicians from Rochester and beyond.

Click to enlarge Funhouse frontwoman Alison Sparkles. - Photo by Aaron Winters

  • Photo by Aaron Winters
  • Funhouse frontwoman Alison Sparkles.

The event was started by Shannon Miller, owner of Smokin’ Hot Chicks BBQ in Fairport. When Chickfest closed earlier this year it needed a new venue, and organizer Amy Sheffer turned to a familiar figure in the local music scene.

“This is too good a festival to let it go by the wayside,” she said. “We couldn’t think of a better (venue) than Three Heads Brewing and we know we’d love to partner with Geoff Dale.”

The Chickfest lineup includes original singer-songwriters Amanda Lee Peers and Teressa Wilcox and cover groups BB Dang and Karma. Funhouse, a tribute band dedicated to Pink’s music, are the headliners.

Allison Sparkles, lead singer of the band Funhouse, said Chickfest reveled in the strength of the Rochester festival and the visibility of the women who attended.

Click to enlarge Natalie Poole.  - Photography: NICOLE ADSIT

  • Photo by Nicole Ardit
  • Natalie Poole.

“Maybe in our town women and men are celebrated equally, and I think that’s why our scene is so heartwarming for everyone involved and everyone who lives here,” Sparkles said. It’s unbelievable. “When I visit other music scenes, it’s still very male-dominated. “

Natalie Poole, a North Carolina native and country musician who also competes at Chickfest, added that in the past, women in music often competed against each other.

“Having an event that’s focused on supporting each other and showcasing everyone’s talents, and doing that in an inclusive way, is an important way to look at women working together in music,” Poole said.

Chickfest 2024 will be held on Saturday, April 6 at Three Heads Brewing.Doors open at noon, music starts at 12:30 noon

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Daniel J. Kushner is an arts writer for City magazine. He can be contacted via: [email protected].

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