- Thanks mamis!
BIG OL' DISCLAIMER: I am one of the organizers and counsellors for the Rebel Girl Halifax Rock Camp. This post isn't so much a shameless plug as me just letting you know it's a thing—a thing I feel strongly about.
Women performing music has shaped my life. If not for Halifax all-female groups like jale and Plumtree, I never would have picked up a guitar, a bass or a pair of drumsticks. I'd seen lots of bands, sure, but I'd never seen myself reflected on stage. Once that happened, doors opened for me that weren't exactly closed before, but they sure felt hidden.
Ten years ago, I started a band to pad out the fairly sparse lineup for Halifax's first (and, sadly, last) Ladyfest. There weren't enough local all-female lineups for Ladyfest co-organizer Erica Butler's taste so we started one together, The Chit-Chats. It was terrifying playing in front of people, but it was pretty obvious to us why it was important.
These days it's less remarkable to have a woman on stage. That said, many of our city's festival and big ticket stages have a less than equal ratio of women to men. Like most things, there's still room for improvement.
We started Rebel Girl Halifax Rock Camp to even out the imbalance by encouraging young women to get involved, and get involved early. Campers entering grades 6 to 11 will form bands, learn their instruments, work and create together from August 19-23 at the Khyber, with a final concert on August 24. Organizers Hannah Guinan, Kat Shubaly, Allison Higgins, Andrew Neville, Danika Vandersteen, Carolyn Hirtle and Morgan Dowler and myself got together out of a mutual interest in making the camp happen, and the outpouring of support from such a wide group of people has bowled us over. Because of the insane generosity of the local music community, we've been able to collect instruments, recruit volunteers, find interested campers and book amazing workshops like home recording, songwriting and screenprinting and bands like Mouthbreathers, Wet Denim and more.