Melbourne’s music scene is an absolute gem – on any day there are approximately a million gigs going on across the city (this is an approximation). Whether it be newbie bands taking the stage at the Brunny, established ones kicking butt at the Ev, one trend is pretty darn obvious – there’s a definite lack of support and headline acts for our amazing female/non-cis-dude music acts.
Enter Sad Grrrls Fest.
On a Saturday when the rest of the population was tucked into backyards and pubs screaming at the footy, a little haven existed at the back of the Reverence Hotel in Footscray. To use Alex Lahey’s words, this is definitely the preferred Rev’s of Melbourne. On one side of the doors was a pub packed full of increasingly tipsy folks, but one push of a swinging door and you were in the festival, surrounded by babes, lovely music, and labia-themed cupcakes and zine stalls.
The line-up was perfection, with the only downside of the event being theoutside beer garden stage running simultaneously to the main stage acts. I missed out on seeing some of the skills of Rachel Maria Cox, Stellar Addiction, and a bunch of other talented folk. On the main two stages, we had a nonstop line of glorious tunes. The sets were arranged perfectly, alternating between the two stages and with some of the more melodic babes on earlier before the heavier dancing was set off as the sun fell.
I genuinely fell in love with every band I saw. I’d heard most of the names before but had never seen them live, and unsurprisingly, live performances will own your heart. ‘Napier Street’ legend Dogoodplayed with their live band and made a million cute jokes in between sets. Chelsea Bleach rocked out and had us all dancing our butts off by 4pm on a Saturday (impressive). Beloved Elk (who have just kicked butt with a successful Pozible campaign for their first album) sang a whole heap of beautiful songs. One line about hiding between the cracks between the bed and the wall hit a whole wave of emotions within me and every other person in the audience. Tina managed to simultaneously play synth and drums, which was ridiculously impressive to my uncoordinated self.
As the footy wrapped up next door, the party was only just beginning in our section of the Reverence. The evening was filled with legend after legend, Dark Fair holding nothing back, Alex Lahey reminding us all why she’s taking the world by storm right now, Simona Castricum enchanting us all with her amazing beats, and Camp Cope setting (unliteral) fire to the stage while everyone swarmed dancing.
This was an absolute marathon show – I drank potentially too much coffee (#designateddriver) to stay awake during the whole fest, but try as my little feet did I just couldn’t make it to every single performance. I stayed til the very last song though, and Jaala made it worth the late night out, renewing our energy for their beautiful final set.
Sad Grrrls Fest was everything I could’ve hoped for and more. It warmed my heart to be in such an open accepting space listening to the music scene I’m so proud to be part of. It was also a reminder that there’s a bunch of amazing bands out there and no excuse for a lack of diversity on music event line-ups.
Keep supporting gender diverse musicians and asking why they’re absent, cos Sad Grrrls have shown that when you look, you can find absolute gold.
Jasmin Ashton is a PR nerd and writer/designer with feelings about pretty much everything. Find them at @Jasmanna.