With names such as Taylor Swift, Beyoncé and Rihanna dominating the pop scene over the last few years, at first glance, it might seem that women are at the forefront of the mainstream music industry. However, outside of Top 40 radio, it is becoming increasingly apparent that, aside from a number of prominent female pop-stars, the music industry is significantly dominated by men.
As I was writing this article, I found myself looking through stacks of Guitar World magazines and looking at the lineups from some of the largest music festivals in the United States. Although women make up about 51 per cent of music festival attendees, nearly 80 per cent of the musical acts at North American festivals are all male.
Noticing this discrepancy, Girls Rock Camp Alliance began hosting annual music camps in the early 2000s. Since then, organizations have been popping up around the globe. The GRCA is a non-profit, volunteer- supported organization based in the US that burst onto the Saskatoon landscape in 2014, with the introduction of the Girls Rock Saskatoon chapter.
While it originally catered to female, trans and non-binary-identifying youth under the age of 18, GRS has extended its scope to include adult participants with the introduction of Girls Rock Saskatoon: All Grown Up. On May 19-21, GRS is back for the second edition of its adult camp, looking to expand on its incredibly successful first year.
Lisa Clark participated in the first adult camp and is now one of the organizers for this year’s event.
“We have doubled the number of people that applied last year. Forty people applied. There’s only 20 spots, so we had to make some tough decisions,” Clark said.
Clark explains that GRS has been forced to put a number of applicants on the waiting list. While it isn’t ideal, it obviously speaks to the success of the first run of the adult camp.
“They’re running two camps this summer, and they’re full, but we’re still looking for volunteers,” Clark said.
The adult camp is structured similarly to the youth camp. Attendees learn the ins and outs of being in a band, from writing lyrics and designing a logo to receiving musical training to taking part in a live show that puts their newly acquired talents on display. Participants show up to camp on the Friday, organize their bands and get specialized training from some of Saskatoon’s top female musicians.
Instructors who have previously volunteered their time to train these groups of aspiring artists include members of prominent local bands such as We Were Lovers and The Radiation Flowers.
Clark shares that, after all of the practices and the workshops, the bands begin to prepare a song for the Sunday-night showcase on the Amigos stage.
“It’s a tall order. You’re kind of forced to get over the idea that this has to be perfect. [You meet] a lot of great people, and it’s a really supportive environment. It was one of the best experiences of my adult life, for sure,” Clark said.
With any luck, the organization is hoping to gain the resources required to include vocal training and increase the number of people they are able to accept into the camp.
If you missed your opportunity to register, GRS will not be going away anytime soon. Don’t miss your chance to see some of Saskatoon’s rising stars at the Sunday-night showcase on May 21. The evening will even feature a surprise guest, and all proceeds will go to GRS.
If you would like to stay up to date about events, fundraisers and volunteer opportunities, be sure to follow GRS on Facebook or at girlsrocksaskatoon.ca.
Graphic: Lesia Karalash / Graphics Editor