Lilith Fair 2010: 10 acts in seven hours

Lilith Fair! The 90s-era bastion of musicianship and sisterhood and all-female lineups is back - at least for this summer - and it's making a stop in Camden as part of its 23-city tour. I am Aubrey Whelan, resident Inquirer features intern and not-so-secret Sara McLachlan superfan, and I will be blogging my way through seven hours and 10 acts today at the Susquehanna Bank Center.

Though it's been plagued with lower-than-usual ticket sales, 10 canceled shows and the loss of a few headliners (dance-punk sensation Janelle Monae dropped out of this date a few days ago), Lilith Fair is not without its supporters. The parking lot wasn't terribly crowded when I rolled up at 2:30 today, but there were already quite a few tailgates. Lilith-goers know how to party.

Sarah McLachlan made a surprise early performance as Butterfly Boucher's back up singer at the Lilith Fair on Wednesday night. (Elizabeth Robertson / Staff Photographer)

I just got back from an interview with Jill Hennessy, who's playing at 4:50 p.m. today. The Canadian-born actress, probably best known for her star turn on NBC's "Crossing Jordan," is also a singer-songwriter who put out an album, Ghost in My Head, last June. She's thrilled to be on the tour, to say the least.

"I was so psyched. I've been gunning for any date I can get, and I would have taken as many dates as I could. I would not have backed out, man," she said. "This is a dream - how could I not be psyched? I'm psyched there's bottled water here."

Hennessy wasn't at the Lilith Fairs of the late 90s, but she wanted to go - and she says that even though there's hasn't been a Lilith for 10 years, the tour still commands respect.

"You mention the name Lilith, and everyone immediately recognizes it," she said.

Backstage at Lilith Fair - for the 10 minutes I saw it - is surreal. Martie Maguire, one-third of the Dixie Chicks (performing here with Courtyard Hounds), strolled out of Hennessy's dressing room right before I went in. There are signs pointing to Sara McLachlan's dressing room and backup musicians dashing in and out of sound checks and security (obviously) everywhere.

Hennessy, for her part, is doing a bit of fangirling herself.

"I think I'm going to have to sort of ignore Sara McLachlan when I see her," she said, laughing. "Who knows what's going to come out of my mouth."

Read more reports in our From The Source blog.