Girls Rock! Finland was founded to support young people who are interested in playing music and starting a band, but who find it hard to get involved because of their gender, the expectations and stereotypes present in the world of music, or their societal background.
Girls Rock! Finland wants to provide a safe and encouraging space to experiment and make music together for those who are not usually encouraged to try out different instruments and roles in bands. Our focus is on girls and young people who do not conform to gender norms. We provide instruments and other supplies, as well as having a sliding scale tuition for camps so that everyone who wants to participate will be able to do so.
Girls Rock! Finland has organised five bandcamps in 2013-15, where around 60 campers have been instructed by volunteers who are experienced female musicians, as well as professionals working within youth and cultural fields. In addition to camps GR!F have organised workshops, gigs, an international conference, as well as being involved in multiple music and cultural projects. GR!F also has a weekly band club for those who want to continue playing in a band after the camp.
In the summer of 2016 GR!F organised four camps. Youth camps in Turku, Helsinki and Kouvola, as well as our first ladies camp for over 25-year-olds at Oranssi ry in Helsinki.
The work and ideology of Girls Rock! Finland are based on the activism and do-it-yourself-attitude of alternative cultures developed around rock and pop music. The first girls rock camps were organised in the U.S. at the start of the 21st century and have since spread across the world. Girls Rock! Finland is part of the global Girls Rock Camp Alliance.
What we do:
Girls Rock! Finland organises band camps, gigs, workshops and courses for girls, women and everyone who does not conform to gender norms. We are based in Helsinki but have also organised camps in Kouvola and Turku, as well as a Grrrls Rock-festival in Vantaa.
GR!F also works with other youth, political and music organisations such as Utopia Helsinki, Oranssi ry, Rock Donna, Rimlab, Helsingin Tyttöjen talo and the Helsinki City Youth Department. If you are interested in collaborating with us, get in contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
At band camp the participants first get to try out different instruments, learn basic skills and then pick which instrument they would like to have for the duration of the camp. The instructors form bands based on the genre and instrument choices of the campers, as well as their own preferences on who they would like to play with. In these bands the campers start writing their own songs and learn to play together. In addition to learning different practical skills, the goal of the camp is also to develop team work skills, and build an encouraging communal environment through working together.
In addition to practicing with their band, the campers also take part in a variety of workshops during the week. These can be for example on improvisation, finding your voice, making merchandise, or technical workshops to learn about different kinds of equipment, all develop skills that are important when playing in a band. At the end of the week there is a showcase for an audience of other campers, friends, family and supporters, where the bands will perform music that they have written and practiced during the week.
The camps follow the usual form of youth camps, at the start of the week there are activities and time to get to know other campers and instructors, during this time we also agree on the rules of the camp together. The instructors are not there only to teach but to support and provide a space for the campers to express themselves in an encouraging environment.
GR!F started a band club called the Arabian Action and Music Group in the fall of 2015 at the Arabia youth centre in Helsinki. Like at camps, there are no skill requirements to participate, we start teaching from the very basics. The club is open to ready formed bands as well as those looking for a band, the instructors will help everyone find their place. The participants get to try out different instruments, practice with their band and start writing their own songs with the help of the instructors. The bands taking part in the club are also provided with possibilities to perform at different events.
If you’d like to take part in our band club, get in contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Girls Rock Camps started in the U.S. at the start of the 21st century, the first one was held in Portland in 2001. It did not take long for the movement to reach Europe and in 2003 Popkollo, a Swedish girls rock camp organisation, was founded. Other organisations in Europe are for example Ruby Tuesday in Germany, Pink Noise in Austria, Stelpur Rokka! in Iceland and our Swedish speaking sister organisation Rock Donna in Finland.
Girls Rock Camp Alliance Europe (GRCA Europe) is the European coalition of girls rock camp organisations, which works under the global Girls Rock Camp Alliance (GRCA).
GRCA Europe organises an annual conference for participant organisations. In September 2015 this was organised in Vaasa, Finland by Girls Rock! Finland and Rock Donna. The conference brought together representatives from 11 different girls rock camp organisations across Europe and it was held to share information, build networks across borders and create a strategy for the European coalition of girls rock camps. In addition to being part of organising the conference in Finland, GR!F have sent out representatives to conferences held by Popkollo on Sweden in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
GR!F is active in the global coalition of girls rock camps. We have a representative in the GRCA European committee and in other teams that plan international camps, conferences and other events. Our aim is to take every opportunity to connect with other organisations and send representatives to international events.