The inception of Rock & Rouge Music, LLC and the Rock & Rouge Women’s Music & Food Festival & beyond goes as far back as 2012. Lani Ramos, frontwoman of Big Pearl & the Fugitives of Funk, was becoming increasingly frustrated by the lack of representation and opportunities for women in the New Orleans music scene. One night, Ramos was hanging out with a festival producer from Mississippi and a group of musicians at local spot Mimi’s Bar Room. They discussed the shortage of women in the festival circuit and the limited space specifically for female-fronted rock bands in New Orleans. Truly, this was missing from the music scene altogether. A few hours into the conversation, Ramos then pitched her idea for a fully female-fronted rock & roll music festival. Although the festival producer thought it was a great idea, he returned to Mississippi never to speak of it with Ramos again.
Fast forward five years to January 2017 – the #MeToo movement is gaining momentum, followed by worldwide Women’s marches, including one in New Orleans, LA. Ramos contacted the local organizers and requested to coordinate a music program for the march. She emailed them an mp3 of “See (Just What We’re Fighting for)”, a lovely ballad encapsulating the women’s movement and mission. The New Orleans Women’s March boasted an attendance of 10,000 people – the biggest single march in the city’s history. Here, Ramos was in the company of activists, organizers, and the future mayor of New Orleans. It was in this moment in front of City Hall that Ramos had her epiphany. She not only wanted to produce a women’s music festival, she needed to, but how? During Mardi Gras that following February, Ramos was at her weekly music gig at Bamboula’s on Frenchmen Street. There, she met another festival producer from Alabama and pitched him heridea of an all-women music festival. He immediately liked the concept, and he called for a first meeting. Shortly after, while driving around the streets of New Orleans, the new name struck Ramos like a bolt of electricity – The Rock & Rouge Women’s Music & Food Festival & beyond!
Rock & Rouge Music, LLC was later established in December 2017 and planning for the first festival quickly began. The inaugural Rock & Rouge Women’s Music & Food Festival was held June 30, 2018 at the historic New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old US Mint. By hosting this festival, we provide a public platform for a variety of women in our city: musicians, food vendors & chefs, artists, politicians, business owners, and more! Local woman musicians perform on our “Women Who Rock” Stage and local female chefs serveup delicious and unique cuisine. On our Women’s Empowerment Panels, local women business owners, politicians, Mardi Gras Indian Queens, and women from all types of backgrounds discusstheir work.Our festival also features a S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) Tent for girls hosted by our Rock & Rouge Foundation to enrich and inspire the next generation of women.
After researching other music festivals in New Orleans, we discovered that on average, women-fronted bands are booked at a 1:8 ratio as male-fronted bands. The Rock & Rouge Women’s festival aims to change that and highlight the need for a greater representation of ALL women in our city. Through this festival, our company provides intelligent and creative women from all backgrounds with the opportunity to share their knowledge and talent with our community. It is our hope that this exposure will help them be more successful in their careers and their passions. While our 2020 festival was cancelled due to the pandemic, we are working tirelessly to ensure our return once it is safe to do so!