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January 21, 2009

Joan Baez to play on Panida stage

SANDPOINT – When it was announced that legendary folk singer and social activist Joan Baez would perform in Sandpoint in March, the concert sold out quickly and left throngs of devoted fans without tickets.

For those who were unable to get tickets, two area women devised a plan that they hope will raise awareness about human rights while giving more area women a chance to attend the concert.

Christine Holbert of Lost Horse Press and the Bonner County Human Rights Task Force, along with Jackie Henrion of MamaLoose Music, will award concert tickets to the 20 Bonner County women who can best articulate – via song, poem or short essay – how Baez’s work, both musically and socially, has influenced them.

Baez, 68, rose to stardom in the early 1960s folk music scene with songs focused on social issues ranging from civil rights to the emerging anti-war and feminism movements.

Above all else, it is Baez’s continued outspokenness on issues of human rights that inspires Holbert.

“She has just unflaggingly been a champion of human and civil rights. She always seems to be right there, and without regard for any backlash,” Holbert.

Holbert and Henrion are aware the decision to exclude men from the contest could cause their own backlash, but Holbert insists the prohibition was not meant as a slight to men. She said women’s voices are often ignored, and she wants to give them an opportunity to express themselves and their viewpoints.

“We chose to limit the contest to women’s submissions only because we believe the world is in the throes of uncertainty and crisis, and the voices of women have a particular contribution to restoring balance: The yang of the world could use a little yin,” the women said in a press release.

Although both women regularly deal with experts in the fields of literature and music, Holbert said those who chose to participate in the contest will not be judged harshly.

“Don’t worry, we’re not going to judge the work like I would do for Lost Horse Press,” she said. “I’m looking more for the heart that was put into the piece of writing.”

E-mail poetry and short essay submissions to losthorsepress@mindspring.com with “Baez contest” in the message line. Songs should be recorded on tape or compact disk, labeled “Baez contest,” and sent to 180 Deerhaven Drive, Hope, Id. 83863 or e-mailed to mamaloosemusic@mac.com. Include your name, date of birth, phone number, mailing address and e-mail address.

The concert will take place at the Panida Theater on March 22, and the deadline for submissions is Feb. 20.