2022 Summer Festival Season

It started in Fayetteville, AR when Big Bad Gina invited SJ Tucker and No Good Babies to make a 6 piece band and performed a sendoff show at the oldest and dearest club in town, George’s Majestic Lounge! We sold enough tickets to procure the “big bad room” and had a fantastic show with over 300 of our friends! It was magical and truly amazing! After not seeing each other for so long, only singing online, and letting ourselves get a tad rusty……it all felt like a miracle. We truly appreciate each and every person who bought a ticket – even if you weren’t able to attend – and we know some of you couldn’t make it and we missed you! It was quite the sendoff and just the energy we needed to take the show on the road to the National Women’s Music Festival in the Madison, WI area. I’ve been going to National since the early 90s. I’ve worked performer care crew, load in/load out crew, stage crew, I’ve stage managed, emceed, led workshops, ukulele choruses, and have performed solo, duo, trio, and more! I introduced Big Bad Gina to National in 2009, through a contest, which we won, and we have been going to the festival, in some capacity, ever since and love to bring our friends!

Then onto The Land, former home of the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival for 40 years. Now a legal and specific not-for-profit organization known as WWTLC – We Want The Land Coalition, with the vision, “For Women, For Girls, Forever!” There are any number of small festivals on The Land now, based on women willing to be Event Organizers and do what it takes to produce it. This year there were 6 festivals and I attended 3 – in a row! Even though I didn’t move my tent site the whole time, each festival was completely different! There were many women who stayed for more than one festival, and why not if you can?

WPI Band Camp (Women Playing Instruments) was the most meaningful to me because the whole premise was for the festival participants to play and perform for each other. I was an ukulele (correct Hawaiian pronunciation oo-koo-leh-leh ) group coach in the morning and we practiced and performed 3 songs for the grand finale, which were great! I was so proud! And by the afternoon, I led the Big Up the Female Power Band (*trademarked by Judith Casselberry) with 5 rockin’ band members. We also played 3 songs for the grand finale, just as it began to pour down! The rain didn’t stop the women from dancing!

Then onto Big Mouth Girl Gathering on The Land – Nedra Johnson’s Birthday Party. In it’s 3rd year, it’s grown to full capacity and was sold out this year! A variety of workshops all day and then concerts at night! I attended a workshop on Lesbian Vampires (what?!), a tree identification workshop, and was a team player for Survivor Amazon! Way fun! I also heard lots of great music — iconic women’s music artists: Nedra Johnson herself, Deidra McCalla, Judith Casselberry, Ruth Barrett; music new to me: KJ Denhert, Mayyadda, and Joy Clark; comics/singers Sandra Valls and Mimi Gonzalez in the house!… also singer songwriter, Ellis and great storytelling by none other than Lisa Vogel, the founder of it all from the very beginning in 1976 at the age of 19. You can bet she has lots of stories!

Then a quick changeover from Big Mouth Girl to the third festival I attended, Singing and Playing on The Land combined with the first Girls Fest. Lots of singing in sacred circle, archery, drumming, workshops on various topics, sacred fire throughout the whole fest, with opening and closing rituals. I offered a workshop on a full rock drum kit because I think there should be “more girl drummers!” The workshop was full both days and each player got 10-15 minutes to get their groove!

After 3 weeks on The Land, regular civilization can be very jarring, so I always end festival season by going to Lake Michigan! If you’ve never been to one of the Great Lakes, I highly recommend going. It’s like a fresh water ocean; with a tide, that perfect horizon, sandy beaches, and because it’s fresh water, there are no large, scary creatures in the water. You can wade out the length of a city block and still be waist high and be-bop in the gentle waves. Ahhhh I do love Lake Michigan.

Back in AR now, which means back to yard work, chiggers, remodeling the house, scheduling students for the fall semester and singing at UUFF on Sunday mornings. The services stream live on facebook now if you want to check them out: UU Fellowship of Fayetteville, AR.

I hope you all had a lovely and fun summer, rejuvenated and ready for cooler temperatures and then you know what…..holidays will be here before you know it……ack….wait…no……not ready……

Love and light and thanks for reading!

2022 Happy New Year to You!

~2022~ Happy New Year to You! I know it’s not just me when I say “that went by fast” and with much uncertainty, worry, fear, loss, and grief. Yet finding the strength and resilience to see the things to be grateful for, because we have to keep going. May this year bring more peace and ease, more love and understanding, and good health to the world and Mother Earth. So mote it be!

What are some of your highlights from this past year or so? What are you looking forward to? You can look forward to some fun music links at the end of this!

My 2021 highlights were definitely about being involved with festivals, singing with Big Bad Gina again and teaching women empowering songs on the ukulele! SHOUT OUT to the all-virtual Amazon Ukulele Chorus at National Women’s Music Festival! That was a lot of work and quite an involved process! You Go Amazon Ukuladies. 

The Land! Formerly the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival. 2 fabulous festivals! Women’s Performance Initiative presented Music Camp for Women and Girls! I love this concept and on The Land. There was some music magic made there!

SPOTL – Singing and Playing on The Land (If you add an “ez” (or easy) you get SPOTLez….teehee). Such a sweet festival! Reminds me of my home festival, Midwest Wimmins Festival! Both with the same intention of singing in sacred circle and making connections through eating, play and music. At SPOTL 2021, more ukulele with amazing women and a set of original songs from 3 years of songwriting projects. Good connections indeed! 

*Amazing women; awesome producers, boards, and event organizers; rockin’ band coaches and crew! It felt really good and I look forward to doing it all again and more and sneak preview, with Big Bad Gina!

Oh and then Lake Michigan several times with Spirit Mama Mary. That window of time on The Land and in the sand was so magical and I’m so grateful all the festivals there happened safely and lovingly! 

An unexpected highlight throughout the last couple years has been the opportunity to lead songs at our local UUFF – Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Fayetteville. Thanks to Renée of course, who is a mighty fine music director. I find I can really get behind most of the words and messages of the songs and I have a lot of free rein to sing women’s music, original songs, and continue to change wording based on principles of human dignity and social justice. 

My radio show, Go Sista Go is beginning its 3rd year, live-streamed and archived on KPSQ.org (public square, but I like to say “kind people support queers”). Sistah JoJo sets the tone, makes it flow, and always gets to ‘rockin’! Women’s vocals with empowering messages; iconic women’s music, local to global independent artists, and classic female voices. If you would like to support this endeavor, my Patreon page is currently offering all episodes and ongoing into the future for $5 a month. I usually post one new show a month. Patreon.com/joricostello Thank you!

Thank you all for being a mirror, a mentor, a co-creator on this journey….we call…..Life…….

Here’s Cheers to our good health and finding the Joy in all our days and years!


Go Sistah Go #25 Well Wishes, Happy Days, and Sweet Dreams
On High (as close to a holiday song as I’ve ever written….)

2021 National Women’s Music Festival is online!

Virtual and ONLY $50! $50 for 5 days of women’s music and culture!

National Women’s Music Festival – Wed. June 30 – Sun. July 4th

Mandolin.com for tickets! Make a new account or sign in with google or facebook.

Festival starts with Bim and friends having coffee on the logs!

Performance with Big Bad Gina!! Sat. 9pm central

Director of the Amazon Warrior Ukulele Chorus – so proud! So fun!