In just three days, Girls Rock London camp-goers learnt an instrument, formed a band, wrote an original song and performed it at a gig. What have you done lately?
“We’ve got a replacement word for ‘sorry’ when we’re in band practice and one of us makes a mistake,” says Jenny, lead vocalist of the band SUE, which formed two days ago. “We say JAZZ TEA instead!”
It’s the third – and final – day at Girls Rock London music camp, and the canteen area (which has been converted into a makeshift arts and crafts space for band t-shirt and poster-making) smells like spray paint. Felt and glitter is scattered everywhere, and the women spontaneously burst into ska anthems, unanimously shouting: “I’m just a girl in the world/ That’s all that you’ll let me be!”
Effectively, it’s chaos, but what else would you expect? Women from all across Europe have converged in this tiny school in Hackney for Girls Rock London. Women from Germany, Poland, and the UK – of all ages and nationalities – have had just three days to meet each other, learn a new instrument, write a song, and perform it in front of their friends and family at the Victoria in Dalston on May 29. No big deal. Girls Rock London host two music camps a year – one for girls aged 11-16 later this summer in July, and today’s Women’s Rock London camp for women aged over 18. An intensive, non-profit three-day camp taking place over the bank holiday weekend, it provides women with the chance to perform an original song in
a supportive environment. 25 participants form five bands, and attend workshops to help them work on songwriting, learn a new instrument of their choice, and fine-tune their performances. No previous musical experience is needed.
The Girls Rock band coaches, instructors and volunteers are all women involved in the music industry. This year’s Women’s Rock London has spawned the formation of five brand-new rock bands – Inner Rush, Moon Vice, Lazer Monkeyz, SUE and Concrete Bones – whose members hadn’t even met each other until that Friday.
As Beth of the newly-formed trio Inner Rush says: “It sounds mad when you think about it. ‘So what did you do this weekend?’ I formed a band, learned to play the drums and wrote a song, and now I’m performing a gig! What did you do?”
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