“Is this your boyfriend’s show?” or “But you’re a girl…are you the singer?” are just some of the questions female rockers still have to face even today, which is why projects like Girls Rock! are so needed. Founded in 2001 by remnant Riot Grrls in Portland as Rock ’n’ Roll Camp for Girls, the organization has become international, with camps set up all over the world, including Pittsburgh. The intent is a camp for girls elementary age through high school that builds self-esteem through music creation and performance.
Here’s an excerpt from their mission:
Providing workshops and technical training, we create leadership opportunities, cultivate a supportive community of peers and mentors, and encourage social change and the development of life skills.
Girls can play any kind of music they want.
Creative voices of girls and women need to be amplified to create social change.
Girls need positive role models and support for their creative endeavors.
…in creating a community where girls support each other rather than tear each other down.
…in empowering girls to recognize, understand, and respond to discrimination.
“Girls Rock” is more than just a slogan.
Rock ’n’ Roll Camp for Girls values diversity of age, race, economic status, gender expression, size, physical ability, developmental ability, musical interests, learning styles, nationality, religion, thought, citizenship status, and sexual orientation. We promote respect and do not tolerate racism, sexism, homophobia, or other discriminatory behavior or expression.
In 2008, Girls Rock! The Movie was released as a documentary following campers as they work with indie rockers like Carrie Brownstein from Sleater-Kinney (and Portlandia!), focusing on “various lessons of empowerment from self-defense to anger management.” Check out the trailer below:
The Girls Rock! Pittsburgh camp completed their pilot year in 2013. The organization is run entirely by volunteers and functions as a day camp. Last year camp took place at Ellis School, but they are looking for a new location for this Summer’s two sessions. They also hope to establish year-round workshops, after school programs in the Fall, spectacle events, and social enterprise ventures.
To celebrate last year’s achievements and raise funds for the coming season, Girls Rock! Pittsburgh is hosting a screening of the documentary in tandem with a listening party for the release of the CD created during last year’s camp. The CD features The Evil Howlers, The Fearless 5ive, Rebel Girls, The Firecrackers, Electrocats, and The Fabulous Falcons. It will be available for purchase on site or as a digital download. The party starts at 3pm on Sunday, March 16th at the Melwood Screening Room. They’ll be showing the documentary at 4pm and again at 7pm. They’ll also be serving pizza from Spak Brothers and cupcakes from Vanilla Pastry Studio…nom, nom. Tickets are only $6 and go towards supporting the cause (former campers are FREE of course). Be sure to attend and support this worthy cause! If you can’t attend but want to help, they are always looking for volunteers and gear donations. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with your support.