There’s an argument that tends to worm its way into conversations about equal gender representation in the music industry. It’s that the powers-that-be would love more talented, awesome female acts, but that these acts just don’t exist. This tired, lazy excuse assumes that because executives and festival bookers aren’t seeing as many female voices in the mainstream, that they aren’t there, or at least, that the talent isn’t. Except, of course, there aren’t as many women rockers in the mainstream because of these attitudes.
All of which makes it incredibly satisfying to watch the woman-driven music festival, Girlschool, smash this argument into a million pieces.
The festival, started in 2016, by rocker Anna Bulbrook, is a joyful explosion of talent and inclusivity that gives a platform to female-identified or non-binary artists whose voices have oft been excluded from the music world. Bulbrook started the collective after touring with multiple bands (both as a founder/frontwoman and band member). While performing, she continually saw the same few women at male-dominated festivals. She was frustrated by the lack of representation in the industry, and it caused her to want to start something that would highlight all of the kick-ass women who she knew existed, but weren’t being given the platform to shine.
The plan was to give women back the power and agency to produce their own sounds, a power that’s often stripped away.
“The more bold, bad bitches in the room, the more power we all have,” artist Shirley Manson tells rapper Desi Mo the Dogg, representing Uproxx at the event.