Ellie Goulding, Chelsea Handler set for new ‘women-powered’ Versa fest in Chicago

The June 11-12 event in Lincoln Park promises speakers, comedians and a musical lineup including Kali Uchis, Kim Petras, Monica, Liz Phair, Mon Laferte, Jamila Woods and Young M.A.

SHARE Ellie Goulding, Chelsea Handler set for new ‘women-powered’ Versa fest in Chicago
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Ellie Goulding performs at Lollapalooza in Grant Park in 2016.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

A new entry in Chicago’s summer festival lineup is less about musical genre than demographic: It’s a lineup billed as “women-led, women-powered.”

The Versa fest, scheduled for June 11-12 in Lincoln Park, boasts a roster of performers ranging from pop star Ellie Goulding to comedian Chelsea Handler to author Gloria Steinem.

The fest’s website calls it “a place where we can celebrate at full volume, where we can dance and laugh with artists and visionaries who reflect the world we live in. Where we’ll discover that we can fight the good fight and have a great time, all at once.”

Also set for the musical stages are Kali Uchis, Kim Petras, Monica, Liz Phair, Mon Laferte, Jamila Woods, Young M.A, Ingrid Andress, Yuna, Big Freedia, Yendry, Laura Jane Grace, Salem Ilese, Deb Never, Madame Gandhi, Lila Ike, Adeline, Vagabon, Coco & Breezy, Lillie Mae and Tia Wood.

Other comedians lined up include Ilana Glazer, Fortune Feimster, Patti Harrison, Aida Rodriguez, Dulce Sloan and Sydnee Washington. A lineup of more than 50 speakers is promised as well, including Steinem and performance artist Alok Vaid-Menon.

A Versa Ball will celebrate the ballroom scene, and Gail Simmons of “Top Chef” will spearhead a menu of dining options from “celebrated female chefs from Chicago and beyond.”

Two-day passes, ranging from $215 to $595, are on sale now at versafestival.com. Vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result will be required for entry.

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