10,000 Maniacs Kick-Off Cincinnati’s RiseUp Women’s Concert and Event Series with a Free Show in Washington Park

The free kick-off event Sept. 17 will feature a women's market, nonprofits and music from Shiny and the Spoon, Lauren Eylise and 10,000 Maniacs.

click to enlarge 10,000 Maniacs - Photo: Provided by 3CDC
Photo: Provided by 3CDC
10,000 Maniacs

A concert and event series created to empower women is slated to begin this month with a free, day-long event at Washington Park. The Cincinnati Bell RiseUp Women’s Series kicks off Sept. 17 with a mimosa happy hour at the park’s concession area, The Porch, and ends with headlining Alternative Rock band 10,000 Maniacs, fronted by violinist and vocalist Mary Ramsey. 

Created by 3CDC, the series aims to honor women and their voices via various events and music performances. Mostly taking place at Memorial Hall, the concerts, poetry readings, networking events and support and education opportunities are scheduled through 2022. 

“I feel like a lot of people don’t know that 3CDC operates Memorial Hall from a programming standpoint,” says RiseUp creator and 3CDC sponsorship and advertising manager Tasha Stapleton. “In the thick of COVID, Memorial Hall wasn’t able to do pretty much anything. The beauty in that is that it gave us the opportunity to pause and ask, ‘What makes this building a 3CDC space?’

“So we sat down and came up with things that we should be standing behind from a programming aspect inside of the hall, and the biggest piece we walked away with was that we wanted things to be more inclusive and attract a more diverse audience.”

The rolling event series is about empathy, support and inspiration for women, Stapleton says. The programming aims to empower women and provide safe spaces for open discussion and support, which starts with an individual and ultimately leads to a positive impact in one’s community, she adds. 

The kick-off event will include a women’s market during the day, set to feature 15 vendors selling various goods from female-owned businesses, food trucks included. At 6 p.m. Cincinnati’s Shiny and the Spoon will play Folk-Pop tunes, followed by singer/songwriter Lauren Eylise before 10,000 Maniacs takes the stage. 

Fans will hear a variety of music from 10,000 Maniacs’ catalog, along with a number of new songs and a few surprises, frontwoman Ramsey says. 

“We’ve worked on new material and are going to be putting out some kind of recording,” she says. “We have about 20 songs and we are just figuring out how we are going to do it, if we want to make a CD or if we want to do it in the modern way of releasing a few at a time.” 

Ramsey says the band is looking forward to its Queen City stop, noting that it’s been a while since the group has played in town. She says members are excited to share new and old music, especially as an ally to RiseUp’s purpose. 

“When you have a female in a role-model position — even to have a woman onstage or having a woman playing violin onstage, which is what I do — young girls or other women say, ‘Why can’t I do that, too?’” she says. “It’s a form of inspiration and breaking barriers. I think that’s important, kind of saying anything is possible.”

In March, Forbes published an article on gender inequality in the music industry based on statistics from a University of Southern California study. Forbes noted major issues that women in the industry face, including sexual harassment, visibility and ageism. 

“I do feel like if you turn on any awards show you will always see that there are more men in the spotlight than women,” 3CDC’s Stapleton says. “So, first of all, intentionally putting women onstage is super important.”

Ramsey agrees and hopes everyone who identifies as female will walk away from the show feeling good about themselves, feeling safe, inspired and confident in their right to be heard.

“I think that with 10,000 Maniacs there’s always been an identifying quality and content of lyrics in songs and political parts of songs, just kind of a respect of womanhood in our lyrics,” she says. “For bands historically, you go back in Rock & Roll, there have been women, but not as much as males. And even if you go way back into the Classical music realm, that was dominated by male composers. So we are kind of catching up in a way. The fact is that it’s important now to have equality for all people.” 

In addition to the market and the concert, the RiseUp event will feature various nonprofits such as Ladies of Leadership, a local mentorship program, that will be on-site collecting donations and raising awareness for their initiatives. 

“The concert is awesome,” says Stapleton. “We are going to have a blast. But it’s really about awareness, so when it comes to our nonprofit partners, we know by the end that we are going to actually make an impact. These nonprofits are in the weeds, they are the ones that get their hands dirty, they do the hardest work, so we are thrilled to partner with them.” 

When Stapleton was organizing the event, she consulted the Women’s Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation to uncover local organizations that empower young women and might also benefit from the series, she says. She was eager to reach out to Ladies of Leadership, an organization in Avondale that serves children in kindergarten through eighth grade. According to its website, the program builds a sisterhood through mentorship, creating self-worth and confidence in underserved youth. 

Layered into the decorated concert schedule are “Empower Hours,” intimate, two-hour events that range in purpose from networking to storytelling. Small businesses and outstanding female leaders will be highlighted in categories such as family law, financial planning, healthy living, relationships, career advice, spiritual well-being, parenting and self-help. The first Empower Hour is scheduled for November and will honor The Future You Project, a community created to spread hope and a web of support for women. That hour will also feature Amy Scalia of Sinclair Broadcast Group as a speaker. 

“I feel like you’d almost have to be hiding under a rock right now to not feel like there isn’t incredible momentum for women,” says Stapleton. “I think that we are being heard. I think what our hope is, is that we want to amplify that voice whether it’s through an incredible powerhouse female singing onstage or a quiet voice reading poetry or listening to an inspirational speaker. The goal is to create a space where people feel supported, where we can show true empathy and inspire them to be proud of who they are as individuals.”

Tickets for upcoming events range $20-$50 and can be purchased on Memorial Hall’s website. Concerts scheduled throughout the year so far are slated to feature Wild Child, Nella and The Wailin’ Jennys. 

Stapleton hopes RiseUp installments can morph into a permanent fixture of Memorial Hall’s entertainment offerings. 

“I think that the one thing I would hope people walk away with is the feeling that someone cares about them,” Stapleton says. “We want to make women feel empowered for themselves first but to know that there’s this whole community here in Cincinnati that is there to support them and all you have to do is raise your hand. We live in such a giving city, somebody is listening, somebody is trying to make their voices heard.” 

The Cincinnati Bell RiseUp Women’s Series kicks off Sept. 17 with a free concert at Washington Park (1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine) featuring headliners 10,000 Maniacs. More info: memorialhallotr.com.

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