TVD Live Shots: Girlschool 2018,

PHOTOS: JULIA LOFSTRAND | Artists, and musicians in particular, have always been at the forefront of using their mediums as a means for change and tools to fight oppression. In the midst of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, a large ominous cloud hangs over us in the shape of a question mark, punctuating the sentence, “What’s next?” How do we keep these conversations going and funnel them into actual change?

In its third year, the three-day Girlschool festival spearheaded by Anna Bulbrook (the Airborne Toxic Event, band member; Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Beyoncé, Vampire Weekend, recording violinist) served as a vision of that future. It’s a level and an inclusive playing field where artists mix with fans, parents bring their kids, and all are welcome—men, women, non-binary, and all gender identifying persons.

The Girlschool festival has indeed expanded to be a platform for not only women, but for all types of disenfranchised groups and communities, and the panels this year skewed more political with topics focused on activism. In addition to artists and journalists, panels featured an array of unique voices—from civil rights activist Ashlee Marie Preston, poet Shauna Barbosa, and a keynote talk by punk rock pioneer and Sleater-Kinney founding member, Carrie Brownstein.

Performances featured a variety of unique female voices, from artists such as blues rock powerhouse Lauren Ruth Ward, singer/songwriter and critical darling Jay Som, New Orleans rapper and performance artist Boyfriend, the fresh-faced, hard-hitting garage rock trio Pinky Pinky, melodic rapper Desi Mo the Dogg, former guitarist and vocalist for Dirty Projectors Amber Coffman, and the ever incredible Shirley Manson, transforming songs from her band Garbage into an orchestral experience accompanied by choir of female voices.

The unannounced guest, the outspoken and subversive Fiona Apple joined Manson on stage wearing a handwritten T-shirt with a simple statement “Kneel, Portnow.” directed at the head of the Recording Academy for his comments on women needing to “step up” to be recognized by the Grammys and the music industry at large.

Overall the positive and utopian-like environment created by Girlschool is getting us closer to a day when we will no longer be identifying women in music as “female musicians” but simply…musicians.

NIGHT ONE, Friday, February 2, 2018

NIGHT TWO, Saturday, February 3, 2018

NIGHT THREE, Sunday, February 4, 2018

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