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Band Camp Benefit IV: Five Local Bands, One Mission

Girls Rock! DC invade Black Cat to support the future of rock

Frankie and Betty at Girls Rock DC!

Frankie and Betty performing at 2013 Girls Rock DC! Benefit Show

Fans of ladies and live music have a chance to support a rockin’ cause Saturday, June 28 as five local bands – largely LGBT and lady-powered – invade the mainstage at Black Cat to support Girls Rock! DC.

Electro dancerockers Glittlerlust will headline the benefit, joined by Sister Ex, Freeform Radio, More AM Than FM and Frankie & Betty, who will share the stage to further the mission of Girls Rock! DC, a volunteer organization that puts on a rock ‘n’ roll and empowerment camp for young women in the D.C. area.

“Rock music has long served as the vehicle of cultural and social movements, including the gay liberation movement,” says Nikki Smith, frontwoman of Freeform Radio and creator of Ladies Rock This. “I think there’s still some of that ‘stick it to the man’ attitude in rock music, and hopefully that inspires members of the LGBT community to keep pushing toward equal rights.”

Nikki Smith, Girls Rock DC

Nikki Smith, Founder of

With this in mind, Smith says she would like to see more women – including LGBT women –participate in the music community and harness the power of progress through a shared love of music.

This is the second year that Black Cat will be hosting the annual band camp benefit. All proceeds raised from the show will go to the Girls Rock! DC scholarship fund, giving a new generation of girls the chance to explore music and playing in bands.

“At some point, we’ve all felt mistreated or short-changed because we’re girls,” says Smith. “This is one small way we can try to make things better for the next generation – supporting an organization that aims to enrich and empower young women.”

In 2008, Girls Rock! DC began offering a rock ‘n’ roll summer camp in an effort to create a supportive and inclusive space for girls to develop their self-confidence and engage in the music community. At last year’s camp, 62 girls (ages 8 to 18) worked with volunteer musicians, formed bands and DJ crews, wrote songs, and showcased their newly discovered talents in front of hundreds of fans at the 9:30 Club during the camper showcase. A total of 11 bands and DJ crews made their debut that day.

The program is now entering its seventh year and expanding its services, offering two week-long camp sessions. And as part of their summer camp curriculum, Girls Rock! DC will highlight many of the women who made contributions to rock music.

“Knowing these women existed – that they played their own instruments and wrote their own songs – is proof that girls have rocked since the very beginning,” says Smith.

This is the empowering message the Girls Rock! DC organization hopes to instill within its participants.

Girls Rock! DC Band Camp Benefit Show takes place on Saturday, June 28 at Black Cat, 1811 14th St NW, Washington, DC. Tickets are $12. Doors open at 9 p.m. For more information, click here.