The first Grrls Rock Camp Ely was a huge success, introducing 10 young women and non-binary and trans young people aged 12-18 to the thrill of creating and performing live music.
Musician Emma Kupa and Babylon Arts joined forces this October half term to make a fun, creative and safe space for young people to have a go at playing the drums, bass, guitar and songwriting, with the teaching and support of a diverse group of women and non-binary and trans facilitators who have played in bands, toured and even been on national radio.
Feedback from the young people was overwhelmingly positive, with several of the participants keen to continue playing in the bands they formed, and all keen to have access to more events like this in the future:
“I’ve been inspired”
“It has helped me communicate and meet new people”
Emma learned the guitar as a teenager and has played in bands ever since. She is currently a member of Cambridge based indie-pop trio Mammoth Penguins and also releases music under her solo moniker Emma Kupa. With 20 years’ experience writing and recording music, Emma has toured across Europe and the USA, playing intimate gigs and large festivals such as Latitude. Her music is regularly played on BBC radio 6 music.
Emma Kupa says: “Anyone can learn to play an instrument and rock out! But women, non-binary and trans people, especially LGBTQI+ and those from minoritised ethnic groups, who can face prejudice and abuse, have to overcome more barriers and have fewer opportunities in the music industry.”
Grrls Rock Camp Ely developed from Babylon Arts’ Creative Ideas Lab. This opportunity enabled artists and creative practitioners from across East Cambridgeshire to develop their ideas for engaging communities in the district, in arts and culture.
Nine creative practitioners were shortlisted to discuss their ideas with the Babylon Arts’ team. Emma Kupa’s idea was selected to receive a commission to test out her idea of a girls/LGBTQI+ band. The Creative Ideas Lab was part of Babylon Arts' work funded through the Culture Recovery Fund.