Rockin’ out: Concert series mixes music, art

Jack Hunter

From a “Prehistoric Beastz and Beatz” themed dance party at The District to a glassblowing workshop for women at Studio West, the Grrrlz Rock festival offers something for everyone.

Whether it’s music, dance, theater, visual arts or comedy, Grrrlz Rock is sure to bring the arts community together through a variety of captivating events.

When Cindy Ingram received her bachelor’s degree in family and human services from the University in 2005, she knew she wanted to help local bands come together and unite with the arts community in Eugene.

Ingram started the Grrrlz Rock concert series in 2006 as a simple way to bring together a mix of musical events. For some local bands, the festival is an easy way to be heard in the community. For Ingram, the Grrrlz Rock festival is the perfect opportunity to bring the Eugene community together through music and the arts. This year Grrrlz Rock has evolved into a month-long series of musical and theatrical events highlighting female involvement in the local arts.

Ingram, a music promoter and local entrepreneur, strives to celebrate women in the arts and benefit a local organization with the Grrrlz festival.

“This is just a way to celebrate that there are so few women in the arts, a way to help foster a community that would support the cause … I think of Grrrlz Rock as a community development piece, and working together for the greater good and through the arts is a wonderful way to do that,” Ingram said.

Throughout the month of November, the events will range from live music at Saturday Market to a women’s self-defense workshop. Matrisha Armitage has performed in the Grrrlz Rock concert series for the past three years with her husband in their band, Bajuana Tea.

This year, Armitage is also the financial assistant for Ingram in planning the Grrrlz Rock events. “At first I did Grrrlz Rock just for the performing aspect, but then it became about spreading the word about all the females that are in rock music today,” she said.
Armitage and her husband Austin Armitage are an electric duo with some acoustic albums. Matrisha Armitage plays the drums, and her husband plays guitar.

“We really want to get a community event together and get more people involved in a big city event to support females in rock music, and we need to keep it going in years to come,” she said.

Although women have been increasingly recognized in rock music, the GrrrlzRock concert series celebrates women in the arts and advocates for more women in the arts and all job fields in general. “It’s just so clear that there are still not many women in these job fields … it’s probably because there is a certain culture in a male-dominated work field, and sometimes it takes a pioneer to break that standard,” Ingram said.

Promoting females in the arts is a large part of Grrrlz Rock’s purpose, but the concert series also wants to focus on continuing the growth of the arts in Eugene locally.

“In order to create a vibrant and successful artistic community, there needs to be more opportunities for festivals and competitions for people to participate in … there’s just something special about coordinated events for the local arts,” Ingram said.

Nate Beveridge, who has played bass for more than seventeen years, performed with his band Circa Vitae at The District last Saturday as part of the Grrrlz Rock concert series. “We are generally known as an indie rock or college-type band with emotionally driven music,” Beveridge said.

Every member of Circa Vitae contributes to the band’s lyrics, and they also believe in the importance of supporting and recognizing women in the arts as well. “Like everything else, this is a very male-driven industry, almost all bands on the radio are dominantly men, but there are a lot of women in the arts in this area and we should recognize gender diversity in the arts in Eugene,” Beveridge said.

The Grrrlz Rock concert series will also benefit a local organization, Sexual Assault Support Services. The string of events throughout the month of November gives students and the Eugene community a chance to celebrate women in the arts, and the opportunity to enjoy some quality local entertainment.

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