St. George-based singer/ songwriter Stacy Lee can remember when she was invited to attend the Lilith Fair, which was held at The Canyons resort Tuesday evening.
However, the invitation was not from a close friend. It was a personal invitation by Lilith Fair organizer Sarah McLachlan."I had sent a CD to Shawna Gold (McLachlan's manager), and she left a message on my answering machine asking me to play one of the opening slots," Lee said outside the pre-concert press conference at The Canyons resort Tuesday. "I still have the recording."
Lee, a blond and lively mother of three, has been playing guitar and singing solo for 2 1/2 years. She listed Annie Lennox, McLachlan and Peter Gabriel as some of her strongest influences.
"I'm so happy and honored to be able to play a concert that is so important as the Lilith Fair," she said.
McLachlan, who chooses a local artist to perform at each Lilith Fair stop, said the reason for this program is to give the artist an opportunity to get up in front of her hometown audience and show off her talent.
"It's hard as a young, struggling artist," McLachlan said about Lee during the press conference. "You really need to be in the right place at the right time. I just want to give people a chance. That's what happened to me. I was given a chance."
The Lilith Fair, marketed as "A Celebration of Women in Music," was a success for artists and fans alike. Even though a couple of rain showers tried to dampen the mood, there was an overall, happy, positive vibe throughout the 7 1/2-hour event.
The lesser known artists - Lee, Joan Jones and Mary Lou Lord - played during the early part of the day, as did the band Lucie Game-lon, Patty Griffin and Dar Wil-liams.
Audience members who braved the rain were able to catch the Cowboy Junkies, Joan Osborne, Paula Cole and McLachlan at their best.
Great interaction with the audience and each other brought unity to the concert. And by the time McLachlan sustained the last note of "Aida," the concert's final song, the audience went wild and the rain began to fall in sheets.
Gia Lara flew from New York to attend the concert. She and her friend Norman Mercado, who is currently studying oculoplastic surgery at the University of Utah, had planned a vacation surrounding The Canyons performance of Lilith Fair.
"I'm a litte disappointed," Lara said. "I wanted to see the Indigo Girls. They played Lilith in New York a couple of months ago.
"But," she said, "I'm still pretty happy to be here. I love all the artists and know we'll have a good time."
Manila-native Mercado, who was one of the many males attending the concert, which has gained an inaccurate reputation of being an all-female gathering, said he was excited to see the show.
"I like most of the musicians," he said. "Those I don't know, I'm pretty happy I'll get to see them."
By the time opening headliner Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories took the stage, the audience had gotten used to the three stages and had checked out the shopping kiosk mall, which sold everything from hemp jewelry to CDs and cassettes and clothing.
Pam Redd, the Salt Lake County event coordinator, was also at the fair to enjoy the music.
"I love women artists," she said. "Of course I'm here to see Sarah, but I'm excited to see the Cowboy Junkies and Lisa Loeb. For me, having this sort of concert in Utah is worth every penny."
As has been the tradition since the fair kicked off last year, one dollar for every ticket sold was donated to a woman's charity or service. This year, $10,500 was donated to the Peace House Women's Center.
"We're just giving something back to the community," McLachlan explained.