Girls Rock Showcase
Music Farm
July 23

Here’s your warning: You have exactly one week to learn an instrument, create a band, write a song, and then perform it in front of hundreds of strangers. Sound like a nightmare? Sound like an impossibility? Now imagine you are given these same directions, and you’re in middle school. That was the deal for the 34 young girls thrilled to participate in Charleston’s first Girls Rock camp.

The nationwide program seeks to empower young women through music and inspire girls to create their own identity unbound by others’ expectations. After a week of lessons, skits, guest musicians, and dance parties, the program reached its zenith with eight bands performing their own original songs at the Music Farm on Saturday afternoon.

With only a week to practice and mesh with bandmates, the songs were simple but fantastically revealing. The audience got to see, hear, and feel the character the camp sought to build throughout the week.

Grace Gurney provided her sick hip-hop flow. Stella Fox threw her drum sticks and high-fived the crowd. Destini Kokkinis ran the microphone from bandmate to bandmate, making sure each got their chance to be heard. The performance was the beauty of using music to empower these girls. Outside of their comfort zones, they were encouraged to experiment and explore. The music created a medium through which the girls opened a dialogue of self-expression with their peers and the audience alike.

The high-quality music was creative and a heck of a lot of fun. The songs, like their writers, didn’t adhere to any standards, whether they were metric levels or gender roles, and they gleefully spat in the face of convention. Some tunes had featured singers trading off, while others had no lyrics at all. Some followed strict arrangements, while others took creative liberties. It all worked because each song was so refreshingly honest. In a society where women are often pegged as consumers, these girls certainly produced. The goal of the camp was visibly realized on stage, as the performers grew in confidence with every note. Each girl finished her set with a huge smile that said, “Damn, I really just did that. I kinda new all along I was badass, but I really just killed it in front of all these people.”

By the end of the show, the crowd of parents, friends, and supporters were thoroughly entertained. After a week of encouragement from passionate and invested volunteers, theses young women found comfort in being themselves. The audience considered each girl as a unique, charismatic, and powerful character. Most importantly, each young woman left thinking the exact same thing.