Kick Off Summer At BeachFest

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The women of Antigone Rising always enjoy playing on their home turf and the world-renowned rock band has made themselves an integral part of the Sea Cliff summer beach scene by doing what they love while giving back to the community. Antigone Rising’s BeachFest at Sea Cliff Beach is returning for the fifth year, with a day-long festival that includes music, panel discussions and fun for the whole family on Saturday, June 30, from noon to 10 p.m.

The festival, which celebrates the band’s nonprofit Girls Rising, has grown every year, gaining new vendors and sponsors, adding family friendly activities and showcasing young, local talent. Through outreach workshops, Girls Rising inspires young girls and LGBT youth to pursue nontraditional career paths and reminds them that it’s OK to play, think and be different. Usually held in September, the festival will help kick off the start of summer with a jam-packed day of events as well as two music stages: the KIDZ BOP Youth Stage and the main stage showcasing national acts.

“Our goal is to provide a complete fun-filled experience for all families while reinforcing our message of equality, inclusion and empowerment,” said Nini Camps, co-president of Girls Rising.

The early part of the day will feature a variety of activities geared towards children, including a hula hoop party, children’s yoga from Gritty Buddha, tie-dye, RADD Crossfit kids, face painting, sand sculptures, food and beer concessions, arts and crafts vendors and paddle board exhibitions. Then around 3 p.m., the Girls Rising panel discussion will take place, moderated by Carnie Wilson of Wilson Phillips, who will be honored the night before the concert with the Game Changer Award. BeachFest will be hosted by comedian Suzanne Westenhoefer, along with performances by Antigone Rising, Sinclair, the Sweet Lizzy Project, Joanie Leeds as well as the KIDZ BOP Youth Stage spotlighting up-and-coming young talent from local students. These include Mae Curiale, Ella Oswald and Jess Girillo.

According to Camps, the panel discussion will be “an engaging, thoughtful and entertaining presentation” that will include four-time USA Olympic Hockey Gold Medalist Angela Ruggiero, WNBA New York Liberty All-Star Sue Wicks, NASA Astronaut Cady Coleman and more outstanding women representing science, technology and other industries.

Girls Rising will also be presenting the Joan Jett and the Blackhearts Girls Rising Grant and the Melissa Etheridge Girls Rising Grant to Finley Middle School eighth-graders Allyna and Allaina James. The Sue Wicks Girls Rising grant will go to fourth-grade Sea Cliff Elementary School student Lia Serravalle. To be eligible they must have attended a Girls Rising outreach during past school year and show strong leadership and school community skills.
“We give the grants to remind girls to always remember to reach out a helping hand to other girls coming up the ladder to success,” said Kristen Ellis-Henderson, co-president of Girls Rising.

On Friday night, Antigone Rising will hold The Girls Rising Game Changer Awards, sponsored by Bedell Wine Cellar. The band will present Wilson with the first ever Girls Rising Game Changer Award, named after the band’s song of the same name. Written with Grammy-winning songwriter Lori McKenna, the song was inspired by Morgan Sisk, a young teenage girl who posed for her senior superlative photo while holding the TIME Magazine DOMA issue featuring Kristen and wife Sarah Kate on the cover. When the school refused to let her, Morgan stood up for what she believed in, and was ultimately allowed to pose with the magazine. The awards will be held at Glenwood Landing Firehouse in Roslyn. The event will give friends and fans the opportunity to get up close with all the artists.

“We admire and respect Carnie for her work to advocate and promote a positive self-image for girls and women,” Ellis-Henderson said. “She continues to reinvent herself, from Grammy-nominated songwriting and Emmy nominated performances, to her latest turn as entrepreneur of her own desert line, Love Bites by Carnie.”

Antigone Rising does outreach nationally and globally and are expanding their local programs. In recent months they’ve done programs at Finley Middle School in Glen Cove and Sea Cliff Elementary School.

“We have found our voice as a nonprofit,” said Ellis-Henderson.
A mother of twins who attend third grade at Sea Cliff Elementary, she described how they put together an outreach program after discussing some issues that were arising among the girls.

“The message to ‘respect each other’ and their differences can get exhausted when kids keep hearing it from teachers,” said Ellis-Henderson. “When they hear the stories about how we support each other, it hones the message and can make an impact that way.”
Admission is free, though there is a suggested donation for the Girls Rising outreach workshops. For more information, visit www.girlsrising.org.

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