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Sarahfest Returns for Fourth Year

Sharde Thomas and her band perform at a previous Sarahfest event. Photo by Kevin Cozart/Sarah Isom Center
For the fourth year, Sarahfest, the annual arts and music festival organized by the University of Mississippi’s Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies, ​will host a series of events showcasing live music, film and art installations to celebrate and embrace diversity in the community, state and region.

The festival began Sept. 4 and continues throughout October. ​

“Sarahfest​ continues to build key coalitions for a better Oxford and a better Mississippi, one that celebrates the alternatives and connects diverse people through art, music and education,” said Jaime Harker, director of the ​Isom Center.

Thanks to the support Sarahfest has received from community partners and the university, festival staff has intertwined arts and education to create programming that promotes equality.

Nancy Maria Balach, UM associate professor of music and artistic director of the Living Music Resource, will perform a concert and host two “LMR Live” talk shows for Sarahfest. This is Balach’s third year to partner with the festival.

“It is an honor to collaborate with people who are committed to growth, understanding, creativity and community,” Balach said. “Being part of Sarahfest allows LMR to continue its ‘music revolution’ to break musical boundaries, redefine musical stereotypes, focus on collaboration, create inclusiveness, inspire community engagement and bridge the traditions of the musical past with the resources of today.”

Highlights include:

Through Sept. 28 – “The Krewe of Armeinius – The Queer Art of Mardi Gras.” This exhibit will be on display 8 a.m.-8 p.m. daily at the Powerhouse Community Arts Center in Oxford. Admission is free.

Sept. 25 – Art Crawl Reception and Screening of “The Sons of Tennessee Williams.The Powerhouse host the Art Crawl and screening, sponsored by Oxford Film Festival, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Oct. 2 – “LMR Live with Nancy Maria Balach.” The Ole Miss faculty member hosts an international live-stream talk show series for an evening of “edutainment” from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Nutt Auditorium.

Oct. 3 – “BattleVerse: Icons OUTloud.” ​OUTGrads hosts a high stakes and high laughs game from 9 to 11 p.m. at Proud Larry’s as part of LGBTQ History Month and Sarahfest. Admission is free.

Oct. 5 – “EMPOWER: More Music – More Empathy.” Nancy Maria Balach performs a concert focusing on women’s stories, experiences and empowerment ​at 7:30 p.m.​ in Nutt Auditorium.

Oct. 12 – Sarahtalk Brown Bag: “RuPaul Before Supermodel: Starrbooty and the Politics of Racial Drag.” Renowned Southern studies and queer studies scholar Michael Bibler discusses RuPaul‘s work at noon in the Tupelo Room of Barnard Observatory.

Oct. 12 – LOU Pride Collective Concert featuring Mattie Thrasher and And the Echo. OUTGrads and the LOU Collective host an evening of music celebrating LGBTQ History Month and Sarahfest beginning at 9 p.m. at Proud Larry’s. Cover charge is $10.

Oct. 21 – Sarahfest Edition of “Thacker Mountain Radio.” Sarahfest co-hosts its own edition of the popular live broadcast, honoring women artists from 6 to 7 p.m. at Rowan Oak.

Oct. 23 – “LMR Live with Effie Burt.” Nancy Maria Balach hosts a Living Music Resource program with Effie Burt, an Oxford native and jazz vocalist, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. in Nutt Auditorium.

Oct. 26 – “An Evening with Effie Burt and Friends.” The jazz vocalist performs with other Oxford and Ole Miss musicians, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in Nutt Auditorium.

For more information about these events and a full calendar of Sarahfest programming, visit ​https://www.sarahfest.rocks/​.

By Ally Langston

Adam Brown
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