Copyright 1999 Boston Herald Inc.  
The Boston Herald

August 4, 1999 Wednesday FIRST EDITION


LENGTH: 407 words

HEADLINE: Music; Girls rule the night; Memorable moment with Sarah McLachlan kicks off Lilith Fair's final round


   "Girls Rule" tattoos were the order of the day. Bra straps were copious. Kay Hanley of Letters to Cleo brought her new baby, Zoe. A men's room was converted to a ladies' room. Mother Nature provided glorious weather. All clear signs that the Lilith Fair was back in town.

In its third and final summer jaunt, the distaff music festival - featuring Sarah McLachlan, Sheryl Crow, the Pretenders and Me'Shell N'Dege'ocello, among others - touched down at the Tweeter Center yesterday, bringing good vibes and big money to a local charity.

During a press conference to kick off the day, McLachlan explained the myriad reasons she's decided to lay the groundbreaking festival to rest - for now.

"We want to end it on a high note," McLachlan said, adding touring shows of this nature have an inherent shelf life.

But Lilith might well be back.

"The music being made has no shelf life. We're not going to close the door," said McLachlan, who wants to take time off to begin starting a family with her husband, drummer Ashwin Sood.

Aimee Mann and Crow praised the tour's camaraderie and efficiency.  Crow was especially effusive coming off what she called a "really traumatic experience" at Woodstock '99. "I came screaming back to Sarah's arms," she said with a laugh.

The press conference concluded with the presentation of a check for $ 18,900 - $ 1 from each ticket - to Respond Inc. Johanna Richwagen, a spokeswoman for the domestic violence program,  said that the money would help fund linguistic programs, art therapy and direct care services for battered women and their children.

"It's not just a celebration of music, but a celebraton of standing up for what you believe in," said Sonya Lockett of Lifebeat, an AIDS outreach organization.

Other nonprofits associated with the Lilith Fair included Planned Parenthood, Rainn and the Breast Cancer Fund. Lockett added that the artists and sponsors hoped that fans left "not having just been entertained but educated and empowered."

Early musical highlights yesterday included local talent search winner Lori McKenna, whose smooth vocals and smart, realistic lyrics welcomed early arrivals at the Village Stage. McKenna, who contributed to a local compilation which also benefited Respond, was clearly jazzed at the press conference.

"The fact that I'm sitting at this table," said McKenna, looking down at her more famous sisters in arms, "is freaking me out right now."