“We might fuck up a little bit, and we’re not sorry. Because we’re girls and we’re not perfect.”

Those defining words are the brave statement from one of the many teen girls to hit the Bottleneck stage on Saturday night, and it was met with ear-piercing cheering from the substantial-sized audience.

The girls are all musicians who took part in the Girls Rock! camp. This was the inaugural year for the organization in Lawrence. As we mentioned last week, the camp helps build empowerment and creativity in female and transgender teens through music. The camp also held self-defense classes and took the girls to the Lawrence Public Library’s Sound + Vision studio to record an album. The entire series of events were nothing short of impressive, and it concluded in an exciting display of the girls’ talents at the Bottleneck.

Each band, consisting of four to five musicians, played one song onstage while their families, neighbors, and members of the community passionately cheered them on. We’re willing to bet you could hear the squeals and high praise from down the block, it was so loud. A fairly inspiring image was painted when girls who were just a little too young to enroll in the camp sat on the edge of the stage, leaning up against monitors, while adoringly gazing on at the teens while they played. The campers also banded together to sing a song about pizza and the Girls Rock! camp theme, written by local female musicians who also organized the entire ordeal.

After the campers’ performances, the audience was treated to a show from some older female musicians, including MAW and La Guerre’s Katlyn Conroy. Although this was the first year for the camp, it was (naturally) met with an overwhelming amount of support from the community. Volunteers donated gear, their time, and instruction to make it all happen. There’s no doubt that Girls Rock! will continue to empower young girls in Lawrence next year.

Words and photos by Fally Afani



Fally Afani is an award-winning journalist with a career spanning more than 20 years in media. She has worked extensively in radio, television, newspapers, magazines, and more.

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