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Buoyed by success, Diva Fest will back in 2004
Jennifer Hourihan, Cowichan News Leader
Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Organizers of the Cowichan Women Against Violence Society's first-ever fundraising Diva Fest are calling the day a success, and plan to make the celebration of women an annual event.

 "It was fabulous, it really was," said the society's Lise LeLievre. "The fashion show was a huge hit. With more lead time, we can put something even better together."

LeLievre is still awaiting numbers of final ticket sales and money raised, but she estimates several hundred people took in both the afternoon fashion show and the evening concert of female performers hosted by TV talk-show host Vicki Gabereau.

"All the performers were amazing," she said. "Vicki Gabereau was great. She was so funny and down to earth. At one point she was on stage in her bare feet because her shoes hurt."

 A high point of the night was Nanaimo singer/songwriter Allison Crowe's rendition of Sarah McLachlan's song Angel.

 "She's magnificent, one to watch for sure," LeLievre said.

She says the event's VIP reception was also crowded, including appearances by North Cowichan mayor Jon Lefebure and former federal cabinet minister Lloyd Axworthy.

All money raised from ticket sales, a silent auction and $2,000 raised from sales of Diva's Delight coffee, mugs and shirts goes to supporting CWAV's various programs for women who have experienced abuse.

With the goal of lessening dependence on government funds, LeLievre said it looks like Diva Fest will become an annual event - although with a change of date since organizers believe a storm warning may have kept some people home Saturday night.

 "We'd like to make it a spring event," LeLievre said. "We're thinking about holding something diva-ish in April and then making it an annual event from there."