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Girls gotta rock!

Girls Rock Camp Guelph gearing up, with two fundraising events this month

Girls Rock Camp Guelph will be back this year, running over March Break. But January will be a big month for the unique program, with three events planned, two of them fundraisers.

Girls Rock Camp, sponsored by the Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition and Kazoo! Fest, is geared towards leveling the musical playing field for young females, transgender, and gender nonconforming youth between the ages of 10 and 13 years of age.

Run by female musicians, it offers a supportive and fun learning space for musical experimentation, confidence building, and first time experiences playing in a rock band.

Part of goal behind the camp is to lessen the gender disparity in the rock music scene, which is dominated by males.

Sara Bortolon-Vettor is one of the musician facilitators of Girls Rock Camp, along with Steph Yates, Emma Bortolon-Vettor and Alanna Gurr. The four are in the thick of organizing January’s events.

Sara said the camp is all about giving girls a fair shake at cracking into the world of rock.

“The idea surrounding Girls Rock Camp is not only to empower young women, but also give them confidence in the musical world,” she said. “It’s a good avenue and starting point for young women to get into music.”

There was no Girls Rock Camp when the Bortolon-Vettor girls were growing up, but the twins teamed up to have a kind of musical camp of their own. They played together and had loads of fun gain playing skills, and started their own all-girl punk rock band called Red Rosary. It was the only one of its kind in the city at the time.

“Every battle of the bands we would play in Guelph, they were all all-male bands,” she said. “It’s not fair.”

Last year was the first for Girls Rock Camp Guelph and it was a hit, she said. The final rock show at the end of the week was packed, with standing room only.

The majority of the participants in the camp come in with some form of musical training in things like keyboards, guitar, drums or singing. But many were absolute beginners.

Lessons are offered each day of the camp in the various rock instruments. The camp runs from March 13-17 this year.

On Sunday, Jan. 15, there will be a Girls Rock Camp drop-in session and sign up at The Common, 36 Wilson St.) from 1-3 p.m. Online applications and registration will also be available soon. Check for updates at Request a registration form by emailing

Later in the month, on Friday, Jan. 20, there will be the Girls Rock Camp Fundraiser Night, featuring Taste of Craft with craft beer, artisan cheese and great chocolate sampling.

It also happens at The Common, from 7-9 p.m. Tickets are available at The Common or at Eventbrite.

And finally, on Friday, Jan. 27, the bands Petra Glynt of Montreal and Guelph’s Bonnie Trash will perform a fundraising show at The eBar, 41 Quebec St. It starts at 10 p.m. Tickets are $12 or pay what you can. The Bortolon-Vettor twins are the heart and soul of Bonnie Trash.

All proceeds from the fundraisers go to the second edition Guelph Girls Rock Camp, to help defray costs for some campers, and purchase snacks and supplies.