After 11 years in the alternative rock scene, Anna Bulbrook realized that it’s missing a tremendous amount of feminine energy. She struggled to find a musical space where women could come together to celebrate the many ways of being one, and Girlschool L.A. was born. Girlschool is self-described as a music and ideas festival whose mission is to “celebrate, connect and lift women-identified and gender-expanded artists, leaders and voices.”
What began as a grassroots residency in Los Angeles is now entering its third year with over 1500 attendees. A few smaller, more intimate events like Idea Lab and Girlschool SXSW, a collaboration with TOMS Shoes, now accompany their annual flagship event. Bulbrook has also created a way to bring actual work to women artists via a series of behind-the-scenes white label events for commercial brands looking to hire female artists.
A portion of the proceeds from Girlschool L.A. events benefit girl-positive 501(c)(3) organizations. In addition to helping Girls Rock Camp, the organization that inspired Bulbrook to give back, the event collaborates with SoundGirls.org to bring engineers and technical volunteers to the stage, allowing artists access to a primarily all-female team while working the festival.
“As we grow, it’s really up to me to protect this community and to keep the soul of it safe and alive.” – Anna Bulbrook, Girlschool founder
Girlschool continues to grow into an empowering and interdisciplinary community of women artists and leaders, and they do it through conversations about music and art held in an intimate, genuine space for people to be near one another and enjoy their time together. When I asked Bulbrook what was next for her and the festival, she focused on the core of its success: “As we grow, it’s really up to me to protect this community and to keep the soul of it safe and alive.”
The next time we can catch a Girlschool event will be in March 2019 at SXSW, and they’ll return to L.A. that summer for what may be the final flagship event in their original venue.