Music, stalls, and more: the festival bringing CBR GRRRLS to the front

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Calling all Canberra GRRRLS! A mini-festival complete with live performances and stalls is coming to celebrate International Women’s Day—and it’s here to change the tune of the music industry.

Taking place at premier live music venue The Basement on Saturday 4 March, CBR GRRRLS To The Front  is coming to the stage to lift the voices of female (and gender-diverse) artists while addressing the male-dominated nature of the music industry.

Dreamt up by Sarah O’Malley (winner of the 2022 Joyful Business Club Great Ydeas Grant and the founder of  Burntout Bookings), the idea of CBR GRRRLS To The Front was to create an event that is hosted and produced by women, for women—upskilling participants in running live music events while giving them a voice in the industry.

“I wanted to put an emphasis on women in the workplace, especially for the music industry, because the numbers for it across the whole industry aren’t great for female-identifying staff,” says Sarah.

“We’ve got a long way to go across the whole gender diversity span, in terms of there’s very little non-binary representation, there’s very little trans representation and gender-diverse representation…In a lot of ways, it’s still very much a boys club.”

Curating the line-up to rock the audience’s socks off with a fusion of punk, alternative, and heavy metal sounds, GRRRLS To The Front will be headlined by VOIID, Box Dye, Masochist, and Pretty in Punk—four female and gender-diverse bands currently on the rise in Australia, chosen specifically to showcase the best of local, female-driven music.

“VOIID is a band from Brisbane and they’re coming up in a big way. At the moment, it’s all female members and they have some really cool songs that talk about living as a woman,” says Sarah.

“Box Dye is one of our local bands…they’re a punk band, they represent a lot of what Burntout represents and I know that they’re for equal rights and things like that, so it was just natural to have them in the line-up. I just wanted to bring Masochist to Canberra—we haven’t had them here yet. A lot of their ethos agrees with what we’re trying to do with International Women’s Day and lifting female identifying voices.”

“And then to top it off we have Pretty in Punk, an underaged punk band from the local area. I wanted to show that punk is for everyone!”

But if you think this mini-festival is just about the music, you’d be mistaken. There will also be an educational element with stalls and vendors providing plenty of opportunities to support women outside of the music industry.

With representation from the ACT Women’s Legal Centre, Good Omen Goodeze, local artists, and more, on the night GRRRLS To The Front will also be supporting Share The Dignity and Girls Rock! Canberra—asking that anyone in attendance brings along toiletries to help women in need and donating $5 from ticket sales to give younger rockstars the opportunity to attend and learn at music camps.

Celebrating achievement and raising awareness about discrimination, GRRRLS To The Front feels like the perfect way to pay tribute to the 2023 International Women’s Day theme of #EmbraceEquity.

“We want to keep supporting women in the community with all that they do—whether it’s live music, whether it’s with housing, whether it’s in the press or media,” says Sarah.

“Women supporting women is the biggest thing at the end of the day and we definitely want to push that message across.”

See you there?


What: CBR GRRRLS To The Front

When: Saturday 4 March, 7 pm

Where: The Basement, 2 Cohen St, Belconnen

Tickets + more information:

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