Girlschool Is More Than Just Music; It’s Messages And Meaning REVIEW+PHOTOS: GIRLSCHOOL LA 2018
LOS ANGELES, CA- From February 2nd through 4th, the Bootleg Theatre hosted Girlschool’s annual weekend-long event which is described as a “music and ideas festival with a mission: to celebrate, connect, and lift women-identified artists, leaders, and voices.” Though I was unable to attend the first day of festivities (which was highlighted by a keynote conversation between Carrie Brownstein and Morgan Parker and featured a performance by Kristin Kontrol that had both Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno and Yeah Yeah Yeah’s Karen step up to do surprise performances), I was able to attend events and performances on Saturday and Sunday.
What was once a festival that focused primarily on music, the current state of social inequities and gender politics has urged the festival over the years to focus on activism and provide a platform for voices to speak openly about social-justice issues that weigh heavily on the general consciousness.
When I arrived at the Bootleg on Saturday, a panel (Whitney Bell, Ashlee Marie Preston and Vera Papisova) discussed the meaning of activism and the steps one can take to be an effective activist. They took questions from the crowd ranging from tokenism to the effects of social media on causes, thoughtfully answering questions using examples from their own life experiences to illustrate and drive home their points. Audience members were fixated on the speakers, in awe not only of their stories but also in the strength it took to openly speak upon such tough topics. Ultimately, the speakers collectively urged the audience to stay focused on their respective objectives, and to proactively do things within their power without having to wait for anybody else to start the motor.
There were other substantive discussions like the panel on “Immigration and Creativity” on Sunday, but panels and presentation’s weren’t just limited to serious topics. There was a songwriting session held by the recording artist Muna, and a “Talking Circle” hosted by Stronger, but perhaps my favorite presentation was the “Sunday School Reading” curated by Jack Jones Literary Arts, where prose and poetry was read from the journals of female writers. Having studied poetry in college, I’m particularly fond of the art form and being able to listen to various women recall specific emotions and experiences with their own words was particularly intimate and beautiful.
There were also several interactive art installations and a handful of vendors that rounded out the atmosphere of the festival. While clearly the musical offerings were the ultimate highlights of the weekend, I found that the essence of the festival wouldn’t have been complete without the various panels, conversations and presentations about what is wrong, what needs to change and what can be done.
And though it’s called Girlschool, I really felt that the overall message and tone of the event was truly all-inclusive. It was a festival that focused on being individual, being strong in the self, and speaking your truth to power. And that message, is something that anybody can get behind.
Follow GIRLSCHOOL LA on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
BELOW ARE LINKS TO THE MUSICAL ACTS WE WERE ABLE TO CATCH AT GIRLSCHOOL 2018. CLICK ON THROUGH TO CHECK IT ALL OUT!
February 3, 2018
Shirley Manson’s Headlining Performance For Girlschool Was Empowering And Rebellious
Amber Coffman Delights Girlschool With Her Infectious Pop Sensibilities
Non-Binary Recording Artist A.W. Gives Girlschool Solid Pop-Rock Performance
Lesser Pieces Lush Electronic Pop At Girlschool Shows Tremendous Potential
February 4, 2018
Jay Som Closed Out Girlschool 2018 With A Spirited Dream Pop Performance
Soccer Mommy’s Alternative Bedroom Pop Put Girlschool In A Dreamy Mood
Moon Honey’s Otherworldly Whirlwind Sonics Blows Girlschool’s Collective Minds
If You Couldn’t Already Tell … Our Music Editor Is Addicted To Lauren Ruth Ward
Chelsea Jade’s Dynamic Performance At Girlschool Was Eye-Opening
Polartropica Kicks Off The Last Day Of The Girlschool Showcase With An Energized Performance