Girls Rock has been making a lot of noise since the first of its kind back in 2001. Starting off in Portland, Oregon, the camp has now been set up across 50 different locations worldwide, including Japan, Iceland and Bahrain. Girls between the ages of 8-17 pack their bags for a week, head to camp, meet a bunch of other girls, form bands, play instruments and make songs. It might not seem like a lot, but a week is a really long time for a 12-year-old who’s never played an instrument before.
Now, finally, Girls Rock is heading to Australia thanks to director and musician Chiara Grassia. Trying to encourage a diverse group of girls, with the hopes of extending it to other cities in the future as well, Girls Rock will kick off its first Australian camp next January in Canberra. Grassia said in an interview with 666 ABC Canberra’s Jo Laverty, “Girls who’ve been playing music for ages, girls who’ve never picked up anything, some of the girls were on financial aide, but by the end of the week they were all friends and they had all written amazing things together.”
“It just creates a really safe supportive environment, free of jealousy and competition. It’s pretty incredible to watch actually, and be a part of,” Grassia went on to say, before expressing her hope that the girls will learn to “Not be afraid to express themselves.”
“I really love the program’s values, of supporting each other and these really lovely feminist values that are incorporated with it.”
Mornings will focus on instrumental lessons for guitar, bass, vocals or drums, whilst the afternoon will be all about band practice. The girls will split into bands after the first initial instructions, with the idea that the song they create will be performed at the end of the week. Grassia is also planning on getting local and interstate acts to come along for performances for extra inspiration. She said, “It’s really a powerful experience hearing your voice in a microphone for the first time, or playing drums and making so much noise.”
You can check out their website here for more information, and if you know any future Patti Smith’s, St Vincent’s, Stevie Nicks’ or many, many other female musicians in the making, there are still spots available. Girls Rock will run from January 11 to 16 at the Ainslie Art Centre in Canberra.