Believe it or not, it’s been 16 years since Lilith Fair debuted its all-women rock ’n’ roll revue. In the time between, we’ve heard Lady Gaga speak her mind, witnessed Adele and Florence top the charts, and watched Madonna, Janet, and Beyoncé conquer the manliest of concert stages: the Super Bowl halftime show. Still, in 2013, the music industry is dominated by men, with females making up just 5 percent of working engineers and producers.
Enter Jen Baron, the Santa Barbara native who’s spent the better part of a year championing women music makers. In 2012, Baron decided to launch Girls Rock S.B., a nonprofit camp dedicated to empowering young women through music.
This Saturday, Girls Rock S.B. takes over the Marjorie Luke Theatre for Requisition, a benefit concert and silent auction that’s as ambitious as it is action-packed. In addition to performances by L.A. rocker Meg Myers and S.B. native Kate Graves, the show will feature aerial groups AiRealistic and La Petite Chouette, and performances by Nebula Dance Company and the Montecito School of Ballet. “It’s like Cirque du Soleil meets a killer rock concert,” enthused Baron via email last week.
Ticket sales and proceeds from the event will go directly toward purchasing more instruments for Girls Rock, as well as funding scholarships for would-be students in the community. “I want to focus on a program that encourages diversity and levels the playing field economically so that any girl is able to participate in our program,” Baron explained.
For an industry that’s still lacking a strong number of strong women, Girls Rock S.B. is a big step in the right direction. And for Santa Barbara, it’s another great presence in the scene. “It’s not just a camp,” said Baron. “It’s really an experience: a chance to release your inner rocker and stomp your feet onstage and say to the world, ‘This is me, and what I do matters!’”
Girls Rock S.B. presents Requisition at the Marjorie Luke Theatre (721 E. Cota St.) on Saturday, February 23, at 7 p.m. For tickets and info, visit girlsrocksb.org.