The annual music festival focused on female performers expands to a second day in its sixth year in downtown Wilmington.
Since 2012, the Ladybug Festival has steadily increased attendance for its one day of performances along Market Street in Wilmington. About 300 people attended that first year. After seeing 7,000 people show up in 2016, organizers decided it was time to expand the event to a second day.
“We’re having an exponential growth, where it’s at least doubled in size every year,” said Ladybug organizer Jeremy Hebbel. “What’s happening seemingly is people that come, come back the following year and bring people with them.”
The festival was founded in 2012 as a free alternative to the massive- and very expensive- Firefly Festival in Dover that started the same year. Hebbel and fellow organizer Gayle Dillman planned the event to lure some of the thousands of music fans headed to Firefly into Wilmington.
“When you do something on a Thursday in downtown Wilmington [in] July, it’s not exactly a busy time of year, and so we’re doing an event that brings thousands of people down to a block when it would typically be empty at that time of year, so it’s a huge boost for the businesses down there,” Hebbel said.
“It’s a financial win for everyone,” added Dillman. “All the way up the block everyone feels the bump up in business.”This year’s schedule includes artists from Cuba, Canada and all around the U.S. “People are recognizing Wilmington as a place to go to hear music and to perform and be part of the music scene,” Dillman said. “That particularly makes us really happy.”
The festival will be held Thursday and Friday starting around 5 p.m.
“It’s a free celebration of women and music,” Hebbel said. “There’s all genres of music, so it doesn’t matter what you like, come on out and enjoy it.”