Though festivals have never been more popular, Dee Poku-Spalding wanted to do something different when she decided to launch The Other Festival last year. Music was important, but the Women Inspiration & Enterprise founder wanted to extend the network of female leaders and creators she had cultivated to a larger audience. With panels led by an eclectic group of women—Naomi Campbell, Stephanie Mark (The Coveteur), Sarah Simmons (CITY GRIT), among others—pop-ups of female-run businesses, and of course performances, The Other Festival was an immediate success. This weekend it returns, this time taking place at City Point in Brooklyn, and once again it's bringing together prominent voices to share their experiences and inspire creativity.
The timing couldn't be better. This year alone, both the tech and film worlds were rocked by prominent scandals based on gender discrimination. That sadly may not come as a surprise to most, but Spalding spent much of her career working at prominent film studios where she became familiar with the uphill battle women in the workplace face, and wanted to do something about it.
Both WIE and The Other Festival act as her response. With the right support, Spalding knows that women can develop flourishing careers and feel emboldened in bringing their perspective across different industries. With this weekend's speakers including Michelle Monaghan, Jenna Lyons, and Laura Brown, as well as a performance by Lionbabe, there's a lot guests can look forward to. But for Spalding it's all about the engagement the guests will have with each other. Ahead of the festival, we caught up with her to talk about the necessity of women-focused networks, how The Other Festival will continue to drive that message, and why these connections are the best way to facilitate change.
The Other Festival takes place at City Point, 445 Albee Square on October 14th and 15th
[Photos courtesy The Other Festival]