Girls Rock Camp Benefit: Amped Up for a Good Cause

Girls Rock Camp Benefit: Amped Up for a Good Cause
Venues & Businesses
Hangar 9

Who: Carbondale Community Arts
What: Girls Rock Camp benefit w/ Jordan Bramlett / Town Cars / Bruiser Queen
When: 2015-03-14
A local benefit will help put musical instruments in the hands of more girls. The Girls Ro
Leah Williams

A local benefit will help put musical instruments in the hands of more girls.

The Girls Rock Camp fundraiser will be held Saturday, March 14 at the Hangar 9. Scheduled to perform are Saint Louis-based bands Bruiser Queen and Town Cars as well as EULA of Brooklyn and local Jordan Bramlett. Chris McKinley and Amber Wakefiled from the WDBX show Under the Skirt will DJ between sets.

A silent art auction of donations that Carbondale Community Arts has collected from the community will also take place, along with a live art performance and auction, a chance to take pictures in a band photo shoot booth, a drum solo competition, and a raffle.

Nightlife talked with Jessica Lynn from Carbondale Community Arts to find out the origins of Girls Rock, the importance the camp could have on the community, and other ways that interested people could get involved.

What is the Girls Rock Camp? How did it get started?

Girls Rock Carbondale is a new initiative by Carbondale Community Arts. Girls Rock Carbondale will be a full-day, weeklong program, Monday through Saturday, beginning in early June. We have a lot of excellent volunteers onboard, and camp will be held at Carbondale Elementary School District 95’s Middle School.

The Girls Rock Camp is actually an international initiative. Although each camp is autonomous in how programming is developed, most camps are members of the Girls Rock Camp Alliance and promote a similar mission, which is to encourage self-esteem and empowerment for young girls through the creative expression found in music writing and performance. Some would say the ultimate mission is to help young women find their voices literally and figuratively.

At each camp, girls as young as six and as old as eighteen are put into bands based on their experience and age. Instrument playing and songwriting is demystified and the girls learn basic chords, progressions, timing, lyric-writing, and vocal techniques. But most importantly, they learn how to work together as a team. Each band writes their own song, practices throughout the week, and performs in front of a live audience of family and friends on the sixth and final day of camp.

Who is able to attend?

Currently we are creating the final parameters for ages accepted at camp. We’re tentatively planning for all girls from grades fourth through twelfth. Campers from all communities are welcome, and there will be need-based scholarships available.

What sorts of activities will be the camp?

As we finalize programming for camp in the next few months, I’ll be able to share a lot more, but so far the morning sessions will be instrument instruction, and the afternoon will be band practice, with a lot of breakout workshops and activities. We are accepting workshop proposals currently. Anyone interested may contact me directly.

Tentative workshop themes are women in music history, representations of women in the media, instrument tech and intro to sound engineering, band photography, [do-it-yourself] apparel, songwriting, yoga, nonviolent communication and exercises, ‘zine making, and possibly screen printing and/or graphic design for poster making.

This year is the pilot project, so we are sort of experimenting. We hope to see what works and what doesn’t and revamp the camp for 2016. By then we also hope to have the resources to offer more art-based workshops as well as ones that engage the girls in a critical and reflexive way. I’m attending a Girls Rock Camp conference the week after the fundraiser and look forward to learning programming.

Why do you think it is important to have this sort of event in Southern Illinois?

[Carbondale Community Arts] strongly believes that we need more programs to help adolescents and teens find their creative voices. On a personal level, I have experienced the transformative power that the simple action of creating something in art or music can instill, let alone through performance, or the strength that comes from being in positive group environments with positive role models.

On another front, I have also personally experienced what it is like to be female and play music in Carbondale. Despite having amazing bandmates and powerful experiences in my last band, it took a long time for me to find a niche and become comfortable playing, writing, and performing. I believe that had I the opportunity to explore music at a younger age, such as at a rock camp, it would have increased my confidence and greatly altered my self-perception. Furthermore, I think it’s pretty obvious— despite having amazing gals doing amazing things such as musicians like Janis Esch, Jenny Johnson, Jordan Bramlett, Chris McKinley, and sorry, but I’m sure I’m leaving out others— that our area, Carbondale and beyond, needs more female musicians and performers. It is and has always been such a male-saturated scene. So I wonder why that imbalance exists and hope to change it.

What do you hope someone to take away from Girls Rock Camp?

There are so many things that I hope this camp can give to the campers. As much as I hope that they have an invaluable experience and gain empowerment from learning/playing instruments and being in a band, I hope that the processes of writing music and singing and creating collectively have a positive and lasting impact. I hope that each girl that comes to camp leaves feeling excited about music and has increased self-esteem. I also believe that this camp will offer similar experiences to the volunteers— music instructors, camp counselors, and workshop instructors. From the testimonials I have read from other camps, I believe this is going to be transformative in many ways. All that is to say nothing of what I hope happens in the next half-decade or so in the Southern Illinois music scene.

Are there plans to continue the grow?

Absolutely. This is a [Carbondale Community Arts] pilot project, meaning pending its outcome we intend to do this annually. We also have ideas about branching out with afterschool programs and perhaps quarterly band-camp lock-ins at the Boys and Girls Club, all coed. We see a lot of opportunities that will come from this camp.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Girls Rock Carbondale will heavily rely on volunteer efforts. While we are looking for dedicated volunteers to help program, plan, and execute camp, we are also looking for potential partnerships or sponsors in the community to help make it a success.

We are also holding an instrument drive to collect instruments we will need at camp. Currently we are accepting all types of support equipment, like effects pedals, cables, cords, mics, amps, picks, new earplugs, bass and guitar strings, drumsticks, tuning pedals, batteries, mic stands, and storage equipment, but also bass guitars, electric guitars, drum sets— full and parts of kits— and P.A. systems. Donations can be arranged for drop off by contacting the [Carbondale Community Arts] office at (618) 457-5100 or <>.

who: Carbondale Community Arts

what: Girls Rock Camp benefit w/ Jordan Bramlett / Town Cars / Bruiser Queen

where: Hangar 9


when: Saturday, March 14