Aerin Fogel is gearing up to launch her third installment of Venus Fest, the music festival and show series that celebrates feminism in the arts. With a home base of the Opera House and a reinforced mandate, Fogel and her team are prepping for their best year yet, complete with live music, visuals, art installations, panels, workshops, tarot, audience engagement, community building, and more. 

“For the first time this year we are introducing a conference component to the festival,” explains Fogel. “We’ve set up a series of free workshops and panels geared towards women and non-binary artists to support the education and development of emerging artists working in the city as well as the next generation of artists who will step in.” 

As for the lineup, Fogel’s teenage self is over the moon about the Vaselines playing. “It feels like an honour and a sign of Venus Fest’s place in the world that they said yes,” she says. “I’m also really excited about some of the local artists playing, like Fiver and the young and emerging Amaka Queenette.”

Fogel has worn many hats throughout her career, but working on a festival is “the most unpredictable wild experience I’ve ever had,” she explains. “So each year we continue to exist is a small miracle, in an industry where festivals that are less sustainable are folding every day. We try to think about long-term sustainability and manageable growth with Venus Fest, and I would say that’s how we continue to be here.”

Fogel points to the renewed call to support women and non-binary people in the arts, especially at a time when there is more public conversation happening around historical imbalances. “Coming out and supporting Venus Fest, and organizations like us, is an amazing show of support. You are creating jobs and affirming the shifts happening around the world. Being a part of our audience means being a part of the change, but also, at the end of the day, you’re really just coming to hear some incredible music and experience the art.”

Venus Fest happens September 20-22. Get tickets here.