In 1996, Canadian Sarah McLachlan became frustrated with concert promoters and radio stations that refused to feature two female musicians in a row. Bucking conventional industry wisdom, she booked a successful tour for herself and Paula Cole. At least one of their appearances together — in McLachlan's home town, on September 14, 1996 — went by the name "Lilith Fair" and included performances by McLachlan, Cole, Lisa Loeb and Michelle McAdorey, formerly of Crash Vegas.
The next year, McLachlan founded the Lilith Fair tour, taking Lilith from the medieval Jewish legend that Lilith was Adam's first wife.
In 1997, Lilith Fair garnered a $16 million gross, making it the top-grossing of any touring festival. Among all concert tours for that year, it was the 16th highest grossing.
The festival received several pejorative nicknames, including "Breast-fest" and "Girlapalooza".
In 2010, Lilith Fair staged a revival with mixed results, as several dates were canceled and many performers backed out of scheduled performances.
In March 2011, co-founder Sarah McLachlan declared that the Lilith concept was no longer being considered for future shows, due to changing audience views and expectations.
The artists appearing at Lilith Fair varied by date (with McLachlan and Suzanne Vega the only artists to play all dates). Appearances were organized into three stages. Almost all Village Stage artists performed only one or two dates. Many of them won slots on the bill in a series of local talent searches in their home cities.
The artists appearing at Lilith Fair varied by date (with McLachlan the only artist to play all dates). Appearances were organized into three stages. Almost all Village Stage artists performed only one or two dates. Many of them won slots on the bill in a series of local talent searches in their home cities.
In an April 25, 2009, Twitter post, Nettwerk founder Terry McBride announced that a Lilith Fair tour through North America would be relaunched for the summer of 2010, with a two-week tour of Europe to follow.
The tour was plagued with financial problems from the beginning. The first seven shows were sparsely attended and the eighth show was the first to be cancelled. Initially Sarah McLachlan claimed (in an interview posted on the Arizona Republic website on July 9) that the July 8th Phoenix show was canceled in protest of Arizona Senate Bill 1070, which she strongly opposes.
Due to poor ticket sales, 13 shows (about one-third of the tour) were scratched (two announced on June 25, ten more on July 1, one additional on July 2) and one reassigned to a smaller venue.
The artists appearing at Lilith Fair vary by date (with McLachlan the only artist to play all dates). Appearances are organized into three stages. Below is a list of artists who have performed at Lilith Fair in the 2010 revival.