From day to night, Los Angeles band BTCHKRFT’S inaugural Bitchfest was an opportunity to escape being constrained under a label, harmonizing an abundance of female voices in Los Angeles’s diy scene.
Twenty female fronted bands from across Los Angeles played for the festival at White Oak Music and Arts, in Van Nuys.
“Being a woman in the music industry itself is hard when it comes to being told what you should be doing, what you shouldn’t be doing,” said Santos Destefani, an organizer and the bassist for BTCHKRFT. “Sometimes you’re using the fact that you’re female as a gimmick.”
However, musicians such as BTCHKRFT’S Avital Van Leeuwen are using the idea of being a bitch to disrupt the diy music scene in Los Angeles.
I feel like bitch is a word that is so often used to describe women who are kind of going against the grain, fighting back against gender roles,” said Van Leeuwen. “It’s kind of badass to take that word and reclaim it and turn into something empowering rather than demeaning.”
Some of the women on stage explained how constricted they were in the past, while booking shows and starting bands.
“I’ve had like guys actually not want to talk to me about booking things,” said It’s Butter singer and guitarist Britta Raci on stage, explaining how promoters would rather talk to the male bassist or drummer in her band.
“He’s like ‘I don’t want to talk to her she’s a chick,’” Raci said.
The performers appreciated the space Bitchfest provided for the femmes to show their talents.
“For some women, it’s really something to look forward to, which is a special thing to have” said singer Britney Hancock of The Residency.
The organizers hope to throw another Bitchfest in 2019, and pave the way for more artists to show what can no longer be contained.