BABES FEST is the annual festival produced by our pals #bossbabesATX, a non-profit event collective and series promoting self-identified women in the creative industry. The three-day festival features 50+ female artists from Texas women in film, comedy, and art. BABES FEST’s blend of comedy, film and music will provide a multi-industry, cross-platform experience for the community—one that allows for unexpected discovery, inspiration and wonderment
Below is an exclusive interview with one of BABES FEST's programmers, Leslie Lozano. Read below and be sure to come out to BABES FEST on July 27-29 in Austin!
Can you tell us the original story of babesfest? How did it start?
BABES FEST holds an annual festival in Austin, Texas and travels nationwide with pop-events.There are a lot of festivals that happen in Austin, but we saw a need for a festival like Babes Fest that can bring in people from other cities and also give us the opportunity to travel and collaborate with like-minded people in other places. We launched the festival during SXSW 2016 as a one day event of music, film, comedy and art, but decided we needed to go bigger this year.
Now I know your art is comedy. You've been part of several improv troupes. Have you ever experienced criticism or push back because you're a woman or person of color by anyone in the industry?
I haven't necessarily received push back but it wasn't until the past few years that I've started to see more diversity in Austin improv. I've played in scenes with people and have been made uncomfortable because of the way they used women in scenes. Whether focusing on making scenes more vulgar for the sake of a cheap laugh, or been assigned a character because i'm a woman, or latinx. Thankfully there is a large amount of great improvisers that don't do this, but you quickly learn who you wouldn't want to do scenes with again haha.
Why do you think a festival like babesfest is necessary for women in performing arts industries?
I personally am exhausted with hearing there aren't that many good self-identifying female artist. Its lazy, and its not true. Self-identifying women deserve a platform for their work and with more representation, the better our arts will be. We released stats this year to show reasons why representation is important. The most surprising for some was that, women make half of the people who attend festivals but only 5-19% are performers.
What do you hope other festival programmers glean from Babesfest? What do you hope people get from it?
I hope that other programmers will take note of the stats we share, do their own research and start making changes. We'll keep doing what we are doing, but change will happen when others put in the effort as well. Our performers are dope as hell, and have put the work in just like everyone else. They just happen to be self-identifying women.
I hope this fuels and inspires people to start/continue working on what they love, continue to support self-identifying women in the arts, and have a damn good time
Lastly, which part of babesfest are you most excited for (you can be biased)?
Eeek. I love every part of Babes Fest but i'm most excited to have my mom swing by the music portion. I'm not sure thats she's ever attended a music festival, so it will be exciting to have her there. She's also a lot more fun than I am.