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The girls just wanna rock (11 photos)

Fundraiser for Girls Rock Camp draws big crowd and support from Guelph’s music community

The coordinators of Girls Rock Camp Guelph are ready to roll following the success of their fundraising concert Friday night at the eBar.

“We were really happy with the turnout,” said organizer and emcee Sara Bortolon-Vettor. “The place was packed and it was great to see that a lot of the Guelph music community came out.”

Guelph roots-rock duo, Royal Castle, featuring Katrin Sawatzky and Jordan Gabriel, kicked off the show followed by local grunge rockers Ten Boy Summer featuring Mary King, Justin Chadwick and Calder McKenna.

Toronto-based duo Bonjay, featuring Alanna Stuart and Pho Swain, topped the bill with their distinct and eclectic mix of soul, pop, rock and electronica.

“It was so great to see people come out to support GRC,” said Bortolon-Vettor. “There was a real joyful and positive vibe.”

GRC Guelph co-produced the all-ages show with the Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition, Kazoofest and F-Pop to raise money for a March break music camp for females, trans and gender non-comforming youth aged 9 to 14.

“They learn how to play instruments and perform with a band,” said Bortolon-Vettor. “They gain musical skills and build confidence. Every year, so far, girls are timid at first and by lunch hour they are back to their wacky silly selves.”

The camp will run daily workshops, performances and other activities from Mar 12 to 16 where the girls will learn things such as stage setups, sound checks and songwriting.

“Local artists and performers come in each day to play for them,” said Bortolon-Vettor. “They will form three or four bands and have a week to write one or two original songs.”

The newly formed groups will perform their original songs at a final concert scheduled for March 17 at Guelph Collegiate Vocational Institute auditorium.

“The crowds grow every year and last year the final performance was packed,” said Bortolon-Vettor, who, along with the other coordinators, is a working musician. “We wish we had audiences this large and supportive coming out to our shows.”

She said the goal is to encourage more girls to play music and get involved.

“There is still an unfortunate gender imbalance in rock music,” said Bortolon-Vettor. “There are tons of musicians that want to see more gender balance. Seeing these talented young women put their passion into their songs and bands is awesome.”

For more information about Girls Rock Camp Guelph, visit their Facebook page or contact them at