Review: Women Are Mint Festival

Review: Women Are Mint Festival

Featuring local talents, such as singer/songwriter Becca James and experimental alt-folk artist Me Lost Me, Friday had been an impressive start to the Women Are Mint Festival and my expectations for Saturday were high!

Whereas Friday was more about dreamy tunes, soulful vocals and a chilled-out atmosphere, Saturday’s line-up featured a variety of bands and music genres, which had three things in common: they were loud, unapologetically feminist, and driven by unstoppable female power – the perfect mix for a night of mint talent and musical excellence!

Jolly Abacus

Festival Day II was kicked off by Edinburgh-based spoken word and experimental funk/hip-hop artist Jolly Abacus and The Positive Experience.
Jolly’s deeply honest poems about her personal experiences and feelings were backed up with sultry keys, bluesy and funky guitar riffs and rhythmic beats. The result was a bleak and painful, yet beautiful and somewhat positive, soundscape, and I was totally stunned by the power of Jolly’s words and the diversity of sound and emotion her music creates.
The haunting words “move on, move on” of the same-titled song ‘Move on’ are still echoing in my head.

The Cornshed Sisters

Jolly Abacus was followed by The Cornshed Sisters, a folk-pop collective of four talented singer/songwriters from the North East. The sisters – who are not actually sisters – wowed the audience with a unique combination of polyphonic vocals, catchy and danceable folk/synth tunes, and feminist lyrics: A really powerful musical experience and a perfect warm-up for the following act.


Picnic, a colorful and energetic seven-piece from Sunderland, were my personal highlight of the night. Their groovy sax-driven pop tunes heated up the room within seconds and transformed the space before the stage into a dance floor. Lead singer Robyn’s powerful voice, together with the melodic saxophone-tunes, funky rhythmic guitars and beats created a summery and catchy feel-good sound. This is the quintessential Picnic experience and makes you sing and dance along until you are gasping for breath. When Picnic started playing ‘Girls Night’, the crowd went mad, singing and dancing along to the funky tunes. This song really paid tribute to all of the amazing women behind, before, and on the stage that night!

Fronted by the true power-woman Robyn Walker, Picnic’s performance at Women Are Mint was overwhelming and certainly proved the musical talent and skill of this Sunderland-based 7-piece – a brilliant newcomer you should definitely watch out for!

Ladies of Midnightblue

After Picnic’s fascinating show, Cobalt Studios felt like a sauna, but there was no time to cool down, as Afro-Latin percussion and brass duo Ladies of Midnightblue took the stage and finished the night with a bang and some stunning beats. As soon as the Ladies started their iconic, powerful and energetic percussions, which they ironically call “traditional folk”, the room went absolutely crazy – people were laughing, dancing, cheering, and screaming.
Everyone really enjoyed themselves and had a wonderful time without being afraid of possible assaults or discrimination – can every festival be like that, please?

At the end of their show, Ladies of Midnightblue invited people to come up to the stage, to play some music together. This wonderful picture of people making music together and having a great time perfectly sums up the spirit of this wonderful festival, which celebrated female musical talent, power and brilliance in all its diversity.

On my way home, I felt very empowered and inspired by the brilliant music and all the wonderful women I met that night.
What an absolutely mint night!

All photography by Holly Olivia Photography

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