Largest Celebration of Women IN Music


Earlier this year, Billboard magazine called Market Street’s Ladybug Music Festival “the largest celebration of women in music.” (In presumably the country? Heck, maybe the world? They didn’t specify.) Whatever its relative size, this year’s festival produced by Gable Music Ventures was an incredible display of musical diversity made by female musicians and female-fronted bands, with a lineup that included familiar and fresh faces alike. We caught up with headliners Nalani & Sarina, two sisters from New Jersey celebrating their sixth Ladybug appearance, and Grace Vonderkuhn, a local first-timer on the Ladybug stage, to ask about their time making music on Market.

Nalani & Sarina, on their Ladybug journey and receiving the keys of the city from Mayor Mike Purzycki:

Nalani: “We started out at a pizza joint. I believe it’s called Chicky’s Pizza now. It was the second year of the festival, and we were tucked into the corner, but we thought it was huge. I remember looking at the main stage thinking, ‘Wow, that would be so cool to perform there.’ It just goes to show that with enough hard work and passion, it is possible to go from a small pizza joint to headlining on the main stage.”

Sarina: “There’s just something different about anywhere else that we play and Wilmington. The people are so passionate and so supportive, we always come back to saying that Wilmington is our second home, so to receive the keys to the city, it felt like it all came full circle. That was just incredibly touching to us to receive that from the mayor, right before one of the greatest shows of our lives, pretty much.”

Nalani: “People were singing along, getting up to dance, clapping. You could see the passion in their eyes.”

Sarina: “It made us put on and even better show, because we felt we had the support of the entire city. We went to the pizza place earlier that day. We wanted to do that to see where we came from and where we started and how we evolved and a lot of the hard work we put into this. After six years of being a part of this, that Gable Music Ventures felt strongly enough to put us on that stage and headline the first night – it gets us choked up talking about it.”

Grace Vonderkuhn, on being a Delaware musician and the importance of Ladybug:

“I guess you could call it a cause, or an idea, of supporting women in music. It’s just nice to shine a light on the fact that there are lots of women in music. There are so many festivals that could include more women, and it’s not because there’s a lack of women in music, or a lack good music being made by women. So I think it’s cool to say here we are, we’re doing stuff, and this is something Delaware can claim.”

I’ve been playing guitar and piano since I was a kid, and I’ve this particular lineup for three years. We’re gearing up to put out a music video. And then we’re going to go on tour in August, out to Chicago and everywhere in between I guess.”

“We had a great time at Ladybug, and the crowd was really supportive. It was awesome, but it’s kinda a blur What was a lot of fun was playing with Hoochi Coochi – they’re so good – and Lauren Ruth Ward, who was awesome. That’s what sticks out, getting to see everyone.”