GIRLSCHOOL Music Fest 2017 – Female Fronted Festival hits Echo Park
The echoes of last week’s Women’s March can still be heard reverberating from City Hall to Hollywood and back. These echoes will soon harmonize with the powerful, face-melting, soul healing music of the dozens of female-fronted bands that are going to rock this weekend’s GIRLSCHOOL music fest. This will be GIRLSCHOOL’s second annual music festival, which is organized and fronted by females only. It runs January 27-29 at the Bootleg theater in Echo Park. Proceeds will benefit the Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls LA, a summer camp that empowers girls to find their voice, then shout it from the rooftops—guitar/bass/piccolo/harp/bow in hand.
The lineup features incredibly talented musicians such as Chelsea Wolfe, The Bird and The Bee, Francisca Valenzuela, Deap Vally, and The Wild Reeds. On top of that, the festival is also stacked with panels, workshops and talks on intersectional feminism & music. Especially in today’s political climate, it is more important than ever for women to join together in creating something truly badass. This is one of those truly badass things. It’s going to be sick. You can get tickets here.
GIRLSCHOOL is an LA-based art collective that brings together female-identified musicians to share, celebrate, and support each other as artists and leaders. It was founded by Anna Bulbrook, who came to LA at 21 and joined the alt-rock band Airborne Toxic Event. After a decade of touring, she got sick of being only one of a few women included in the male-dominated festival lineups. Bulbrook says “At first, I was just so happy to be out there doing it. But after a few years, I started to realize how few other women artists I’d see at radio festivals or out on the road, and I missed that connection.” In a scene practically devoid of women, she decided to make something that would empower other women to take the stage.
That idea took form in the art collective GIRLSCHOOL. GS started out as a female-fronted residency rotating between LA staples such as The Satellite and The Echo. The events quickly drew attention and the collaborations grew, showing Bulbrook that she wasn’t the only one aching for more feminine energy in the male dominated scene.
With the second festival around the corner, and with all the hype surrounding it, it’s becoming clear that GS’s goal of getting women in the music industry to work together is transitioning from utopian idea to reality. About the festival, Bulbrook says “we get to show people that THIS is what happens when women organize to celebrate and share our talents. And it’s nice that it feels like serious and important business, but it also matters to me that it’s really fucking fun. We have the best time working our brains out bringing this idea to life!”
We’re excited about this weekend’s events, and you should be too. Remember folks, the future is female, and the very foreseeable future is female festivals. Meow.
Check out some headliners below.
Chelsea Wolf hails from Northern California, where she began writing and recording songs as a kid at home (describing them as “Casio-based goth R&B songs). It wasn’t until her 20s that she started releasing albums and touring. For years, she was held back by her stage fright, but with the help of a black veil and lots of practice, she’s come into her own. Now, she tears up the stage with droning electric guitars, distortion, and industrial noise. This weekend you can join her in a dark journey that teeters between dream-like states.
The Bird and the Bee
This LA duo is half vocalist Inara George and multi-instrumentalist Greg Kurstin. When they formed the band in 2005, they initially bonded over their love for jazz. Soon, they were forming a charmed, secret world in which to dream up groovy retro-pop hits. George is also a singer in the indie-folk supergroup the Living Sisters.
Francisca Valenzuela is a Jill of many trades: singer, songwriter, poet, fashion designer, and entrepreneur are just some of her titles. Born and raised in San Francisco in a Chilean household, Valenzuela was called “Latin America’s most glamorous artist” by Spain’s Esquire Magazine. Filling her strong, structured pop songs are bold synths, electric guitars, and beautiful, melodic vocals. Those who can understand her Spanish lyrics will be rewarded decoding her songs at the show.
Deap Vally is one of L.A.’s best kept not-so-secret-secrets. This duo consists of Lindsey Troy and Julie Edwards, who met at a crochet class. This little piece of folklore may surprise anyone whose seen their hardcore thrashing in the act. Booming vocals and a lo-fi bluesy sound characterize their musicality, which rocks hard. They’ve been characterizeed as “a scuzzy White Strepies-meets Led Zeppelin rock and roll duo.” So get ready for some hard-riffing blues rock.
The Wild Reeds
The Wild Reeds are fronted by Sharon Silva, Kinsey Lee and Mackenzie Howe, all three rotating as songwriters, singers, and instrumentalists for the band. Together, they create powerful, yet ephemeral, harmonies which sigh and soar over a folk-rock and bluegrass inspired melodies. Watching these amazing women perform live is not something to miss…(I’ve seen them six or seven times, and pull all my friends out to the show whenever they’re nearby). Each woman is a multi-instrumentalist, trading off acoustic and electric guitars, banjo, auto harp, and harmonium throughout the set. They are also backed by drums & cello, thanks to Nick Jones & Nick Phakpiseth.