The thing that first got me into Ladyfest was the music. I first went to a Ladyfest gig in Manchester and was amazed to find that the gig came with a really cool commmunity attached, with zines and stalls and a feminist motive that I could believe in. I really hope more people make that discovery.
Now that I know Ladyfest, it's sort of the other way around: I know how brilliant the concept is, but I'm amazed at all the excellent bands that turn up to a Ladyfest!
Musical highlights of Ladyfest Brighton for me included Afrirampo (so much fun!), the Corey Orbisons (shy punk madness - with some really nice 10-second songs), and Con Mun Gos (really precisely-crafted hardcore tunes), among others.
Wet Dog were brilliant, and somehow all the better for having a stand-in bassist who had to be quickly shown the chord progression before every song. Bela Emerson's cello/electronics improv was gorgeous, even though we had to evacuate the building (fire alarm) half-way through. Smartypants were loads of Casio fun - we liked their song about Jimmy Carr a lot. Blood Red Shoes were good too. Just drums and guitar, really elemental like early Nirvana, and so loud in that tiny club that it was really dangerous.
That doesn't cover all the brill bands - but I'm running out of pithy sentences. We recorded some of the gigs and if the bands are OK with it we're going to be publishing them online, so you can judge for yourself. And you will judge them to be excellent.