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Michigan Womyn's Music Fest coming to an end this summer

Apr 23, 2015

After 40 years, the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival is coming to an end.
Credit Erin English / Creative Commons

This summer will be the final year for the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival in West Michigan.

Lisa Vogel, who founded the event when she was 19, made the announcement in a letter on the event's website.

"We have known in our hearts for some years that the life cycle of the festival was coming to a time of closure," she said. 

Vogel didn't give a specific reason for the decision. 

For 40 years, thousands of woman have traveled the globe to attend the week-long event near Hart Township.

Lisy Harmon with Lesbian Connection, a grassroots Lansing magazine, said she's been attending for years.

“It’s been a very special week in my life every year, going with my partner and coworkers and feeling that sense of community and safety there,” Harmon said.

Before moving to Michigan in 1999, Harmon said she traveled from California to attend for the first time, after hearing positive things about the festival from friends.

“[I remember] just looking around at all the color, the welcoming calls, the friendly women," she said. "It was just amazing to be in the woods with all those women.”

The festival has come under controversy in recent years over claims that it excludes transgender women, leading several performers and LGBT advocacy groups to boycott it.

The event's website says there isn't a formal policy banning transgender women from attending; the festival is "intended to be for womyn who were born female, raised as girls and who continue to identify as womyn."