Girls Rock Carbondale Showcase: A Musical Celebration of Young Women

Girls Rock Carbondale Showcase: A Musical Celebration of Young Women
Venues & Businesses
Hangar 9

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Who: Libre Unschool
What: Girls Rock Camp showcase
When: 2017-08-12
Pictured: Dust Bunnies of Doom.
Craig Wilson

words by Craig Wilson

picture by Mitch Mitchell


The annual Girls Rock Showcase will return Saturday, August 12 to the Hangar 9. The doors open at 5 p.m.

Girls Rock is an international movement to help girls between the fourth and twelfth grade start bands and perform. The Carbondale camp was founded in 2014 by Jessica Lynn.

Some bands that formed at the Girls Rock Carbondale include Distorted Vision, the Rockettes, Out of the Kitchen, Personal Tragedies, Teen Angst, and Twisted Ego.

Last year’s Girls Rock Carbondale showcase at the Hangar 9 drew a large crowd. There were plenty of smiles and good times.

Lynn told Nightlife a little more about Girls Rock Carbondale. Here’s an edited transcript of the interview.

What’s your process for setting up Girls Rock and what’s your history?

Girls Rock Carbondale is a weeklong summer program that puts girls and gender-nonconforming youth center stage. We teach campers the basics of an instrument, coach them on being in a band, offer a range of educational workshops, and steep them in a world of fun. With their band, campers write an original song and play it live at a local music venue. Being in a band is demystified and campers spend a week immersed in an ethos of empowerment.

Girls Rock Carbondale has held two prior sessions in 2015 and 2016— both guitar-smashing successes. In 2017, Girls Rock Carbondale moved from being a Carbondale Community Arts program to a Libre Unschool program. I’m the director of Libre Unschool— a small arts, cultural, and educational endeavor that is slowly expanding with more programming like this summer’s Eco Theater Camp and a few small afterschool programs kicking off this fall. You can check out our efforts at <>.

What can you say about this year’s Girls Rock Camp?

This year Girls Rock Carbondale is seven days. We spend Monday through Friday in workshops, instrument instruction, band practice, and our famed Merch Op art workshops. Saturday, the Hangar 9 hosts Girls Rock Carbondale and our campers for the annual Girls Rock Camper Showcase. Sunday, bands will record their song at Plaza Records under Two Headed Twin Records. We are thrilled to offer workshops on self-defense, critical literacy of the media, song/lyric writing, harmonies, screen printing, and creative writing.

This summer we have approximately thirty-five youth, which is about how many we worked with last year. Lack of adequate space has been a limitation on increasing our capacity, but it’s been an inspiration to see our volunteer base nearly triple since 2014 when I started the camp in Carbondale. Our volunteers are the life force of Girls Rock— they are the magic behind the scenes— and lately in the scenes with awesome programs like Rock Roulette.

Girls Rock Carbondale summer camp will kick off in August this year. In the meantime, we’ve just finished our final fundraiser with Rock Roulette, an eight-week rock camp where adults form a band and play live locally. We’re also seeking to fill two bass-instructor positions, at beginning and intermediate levels. Our annual gear drive is just kicking off— we’re collecting loaner instruments like bass guitars, amps, mixers, and more. We’re still trying to fill our campers’ and volunteers’ bellies for three more days during the week— our lunches are graciously donated by local businesses. Girls Rock Carbondale is always accepting volunteer applications. Check our website at <> for more information.

What kind of environment will participants find at Girls Rock Camp?

We speak of camp magic a lot, but it’s only recently that I’ve come to appreciate the nuance of how that magic is made. At Girls Rock Carbondale, we seek to create an environment without judgement. Campers encounter many experiences that challenge their boundaries around creativity and self-expression and are able to do so in a safe environment. At last year’s showcase, when I individually asked campers, “How do you feel?” after their performance, every single camper's reply was: “Awesome!”

who: Libre Unschool

what: Girls Rock Camp showcase

where: Hangar 9


when Saturday, August 12