Chickfest celebrates Rochester's female musicians 

The Pink tribute band Funhouse will headline Chickfest 2024 at Three Heads Brewing. - PHOTO BY AARON WINTERS
  • PHOTO BY AARON WINTERS
  • The Pink tribute band Funhouse will headline Chickfest 2024 at Three Heads Brewing.
Until recently, the only local celebration of female musicians was relegated to classical music and not pop. But that changed in 2023 with the advent of Chickfest, an all-day festival highlighting female musicians from Rochester and beyond.

click to enlarge Funhouse frontwoman Allison Sparkles. - PHOTO BY AARON WINTERS
  • PHOTO BY AARON WINTERS
  • Funhouse frontwoman Allison Sparkles.
The event was created by Shannon Miller, owner of Smokin' Hot Chicks BBQ in Fairport. When the business closed earlier this year, Chickfest needed a new venue, and organizer Amy Sheffer sought out a familiar figure in the local music scene.

“It was too good a festival to let it just fall by the wayside,” she said. “We couldn't think of a better (venue) than Three Heads Brewing, and we knew we would love to work with Geoff Dale.”

Chickfest's lineup includes original singer-songwriters Amanda Lee Peers and Teressa Wilcox and cover bands BB Dang and Karma. Funhouse, a tribute band dedicated to the music of Pink, is the headliner.

Allison Sparkles, the lead singer for Funhouse, says Chickfest revels in the strength of Rochester’s scene and the visibility of the women who take part.

click to enlarge Natalie Poole. - PHOTO BY NICOLE ADSIT
  • PHOTO BY NICOLE ADSIT
  • Natalie Poole.
“Perhaps in our town, women and men are kind of celebrated equally, which I think is why our scene is so incredible for everyone that is involved in it and everyone who lives here,” Sparkles said. “When I visit other music scenes, it is still very male-dominated.”

Natalie Poole, a North Carolina native and country musician who is also participating in Chickfest, added that, in the past ,women in music were often pitted against one another in competition.

“To have an event where the whole point is to support each other and showcase the talent that each person has — and do that in a way that is inclusive — is an important way to look at women working together in music,” said Poole.

Chickfest 2024 will take place at Three Heads Brewing on Saturday April 6. Tickets are $15 advance, $20 day of the event. Doors open at noon, and music starts at 12:30 p.m.

For more information, go to threeheadsbrewing.com.


Daniel J. Kushner is an arts writer at CITY. He can be reached at [email protected].
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