After spending a couple years building her female-focused music festival GIRLSCHOOL, Anna Bulbrook is always reminded how vital the event is whenever she re-enters the mainstream rock world as a touring musician. As a member of The Airborne Toxic Event, being on the road is always an eye opener, especially during festival season.
“We just played a festival a few weeks ago in Utah and I was struck by how many men were on stage,” Bulbrook says. “All the bands were staying at one hotel and it was mostly all men, after living in this world of GIRLSCHOOL it feels normal that it’s almost shocking when you step outside of it and realize that it’s still quite the opposite for the rest of the world.”
It’s one of the reasons she, along with partner Jasmine Lywen-Dill and the rest of the GIRLSCHOOL team are working harder than ever to spread their message of equality for women in music. What started with Bulbrook’s recent residency at The Satellite by the same name soon evolved into a full-fledged festival where she curated a list of local female artists from the local L.A. music scene to play an all-day show. They’ve been doing it for two years now through their flagship festival and tonight it continues at a show featuring R&B trio King at the Resident in LA, presented by Red Bull Sound Select. The show, which kicks off at 8 p.m., opens a new chapter in GIRLSCHOOL's history by curating its first R&B-centric lineup, an alternative to the Echo Park, indie rock vibe they’re typically known for. Bulbrook says this type of show is definitely been wanting to do for a while.
“We really looked around after we booked the first festival and said cool this was a really good lineup but we could do better in terms of incorporating more genres and it made us think about the kind of community we wanna be,” Bulbrook says. In that sense, LA-based King, who are known to melt giant venues with their soulful radiance, are the perfect act to headline the show, which will also feature fellow R&B singer-songwriters Caroline Smith and Arima Ederra.
“I really admire how it’s an all woman project, self produced, self released, “Bulbrook says. “A lot of male fronted bands don’t do those things and the fact that they do it at such a high level is incredible,” Bulbrook says.
The intimate show where women and men alike can appreciate feminine power in it’s purest musical form is just one of the ways GIRLSCHOOL is expanding its parameters. Placing an emphasis on panel discussions at their festivals featuring females in the music industry is another area where Bulbrook wants to see her project shine.
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“It’s a way for us to touch people’s lives outside of getting people to come to a concert and donate to a charity for girls, but also learn and talk to women you admire or see a woman do something you never imagined you could do for yourself until you saw a woman doing it.”
Focusing on women with a variety of different skill sets and backgrounds is necessary for those who attend to walk away with new knowledge and a better understanding of how a band like King or any female artist can not just hope to make it big, but actually succeed.
“I feel like creating unity and imagining a path forward that’s positive and unified and together and loving of each other is crucial, it’s so important to me,” Bulbrook says.
Red Bull Sound Select Presents King, Caroline Smith and Arima Ederra, curated by GIRLSCHOOL at the Resident tonight at 8 p.m. $3 with RSVP, $10 without. For tickets and details, click here.