Lulu Fest Mission Statement… “Where the traditions meet the progressives, and all the leaders are women”


For the past 12 years, the Ritenuto Foundation has presented the Wall Street Jazz Festival, in Kingston, NY, a free outdoor festival featuring women-led band. Since relocating to Austin, Ms. Stern has become inspired to continue the festival here, possibly in an altered form, but keeping the founding principle intact. 


The bands shall be led by women, free to make their own choices of personnel, free to present their own unique musical concept.


Lulu Fest intends to tap in to audience favorites, as well as to bring in talent from other places, hitherto unheard in this area. We will not stick to a strictly jazz formula, but all bands will include some form of improvisation. We will focus on jazz, Latin, western swing, and original music. We will include women who are already well-known, as well as new comers:  some of our audience have been following our artists’ careers for many years, and others will be new to the ‘scene’. 


At the Wall Street Jazz Festival, the presentations have been elegant and professional, but the environment has been intimate enough to be very personal. In presenting Austin’s Lulu Fest, we intend to keep that hometown flavor; it works in our favor to see neighbors enjoying this world-class music up close and personal.


We are very unusual in presenting the works of female musicians and composers, and have made our reputation for the past 12 seasons on this fact. We hope to reach as many people as possible, and we do not concentrate on their age, race or ethnicity, only their ears. The past and present leaders of the bands, who have experienced our festival and concept firsthand, meet to plan each year's Festival. These are our best contributors, in terms of planning and implementation - with the longest view, and the most interest in the project going forward.


Men have long dominated the field of jazz - defined here as improvised American music; Travis County, as a forward thinking community, provides the ideal forum to present this long overdue presentation, focussing on women as leaders. This is NOT a women’s music festival; to the contrary, most of the bands are generously peopled with men. The principle behind the festival is simply that the women leaders and their concepts of the music are being presented here, thus setting it apart from most other festivals in the country (and the world) at this juncture in history.

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Images from Wall Street Jazz Festival

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