One of our favorite local lady writers/podcaster/lady music aficionado Dana Raidt of Metro Magazine and Girl Germs is one of the brains behind the fabulous Girls Got Rhythm Fest, taking place this weekend in St. Paul. It's going to rule, so you should check it out. For info can be found at the event page here or on the event's blog here.
HERE, however, Dana was gracious enough to answer some quick questions about the fest, her experience planning it and women in rock for C.L.A.P. Check it:
How did the Girls Got Rhythm Fest come about?
My friend Travis Ramin and I are/were both doing podcasts. I was doing Girl Germs and he does Jazzed Up and Bonkers with Dan Henry (of Soviettes/Awesome Snakes fame). We have a lot in common musically, so we were trying to think of ways we could collaborate. Travis had put on a festival called Rock Action at the Turf a few years ago, and brought up the idea of organizing one together. We started asking around and gauging interest, and it kind of just snowballed from there! Next thing we knew, we were talking to Ronnie Spector’s people and she was totally into the idea. It all sort of came together after that.
What can fest attendees expect this weekend? What are some of the “highlights”?
One of my favorite parts of the fest is how cohesive yet diverse the lineup is. It all fits together, but everything is really unique at the same time. Generally speaking, Friday is a little more rock and Saturday is a little more pop. I can safely say that L’Assassins are going to rock this thing. They are perfect for this bill and the local press has really latched on to them recently—for good reason. They are super fun and talented and are a perfect up-and-coming counterpoint to the more established acts like Ronnie Spector and The 126.96.36.199’s. The 188.8.131.52.’s haven’t performed in the Twin Cities since 2003 and they are making the trip just to play the fest, which is mind-blowing. Of course Ronnie Spector will be amazing.
What are you most excited about for the fest?
I think seeing Ronnie Spector is going to change my life. Lately I’ve been on a kick of seeing older acts I love (like Stevie Nicks, Wanda Jackson and Tom Petty), and seeing Ronnie will be amazing. As Travis has said, “You’ll probably cry.” I was at The 184.108.40.206’s last show in the Entry, so it will be great to see them in a completely different setting. They have really great energy. I’m really into White Mystery as well, and always love seeing Pierced Arrows.
Why do you think it is important to have lady-friendly fests like GGR in this day and age?
While I think there has been a lot of progress made regarding women in the music industry, there’s still subtle, or even subconscious, sexism. Talented female acts don’t always get the attention they deserve, partially because some people project all their latent sexist crap on to them—sometimes without even realizing they’re doing it. It’s tricky though, because while we want to celebrate, empower and showcase these women, we don’t want to turn the whole thing into a novelty—nor do we want to book a band only because there are women involved. We booked all these musicians because we think they are the best of the best, and they all just happened to be ladies. It made for a cool theme, and hopefully it inspires and empowers some ladies out there. And maybe enlightens some dudes, too.
Anything else you would like to share about GGR and your experience planning it?
This festival is pretty much my baby at this point. (Seriously, we started planning in August so it’s been nine months. It really feels like I’m preparing to give birth.) I have learned so much. If all goes well, I hope that the fest will become something people flock to every year and that helps them get exposed to some amazing, well-curated music.
Want to see what Dana is giving birth to? You can get info on tickets for the Girls Got Rhythm Fest here! Also don't forget that tonight at 7 p.m. is going to be our very special Brainstorming Session for our "Weird Things" summer issue! You can check out more details on that here. Hope to see you there!