Girls Rock!, an international non-profit that delivers annual music camps to female, transgender and non-binary youth, has announced its arrival in Sydney. The organisation, founded in Portland, Oregon, in 2001, ran its first Australian program in Canberra in January 2016, before expanding to Brisbane in September and to Melbourne in January 2017.
Over the course of a week, camp participants learn to play an instrument, form a band with fellow campers, write a song and perform at a showcase. Daily workshops cover the business side of running a band, such as zine-making, logo design and screen printing band t-shirts. In addition, professional local acts give lunchtime performances, followed by Q and As.
Throughout, participants are guided by experienced mentors, including instrument instructors, band coaches and band managers. At the inaugural Australian camp, held in Canberra, Courtney Barnett and Jen Cloher taught and performed.
“We’re here to try and encourage and inspire young girls to play music,” Barnett said. “I think a big part of it is encouraging girls to … have fun and not be … intimidated or scared or feel like they have to fit a certain mould to make other people happy.”
Girls Rock! aims to promote empowerment, positivity, creativity and community. The idea is to create a safe, nurturing environment, in which participants feel confident to learn, express themselves and ask questions.
In the lead-up, Girls Rock! is hosting a series of fundraiser shows, at Tokyo Sing Song, Newtown, on Saturday 28 October; at The Factory Floor on Sunday 5 November; and at 107 Projects, Redfern, on Friday 10 November. All line-ups feature female, transgender and non-binary musicians.