Canada's Metalocalypstick Fest Will Celebrate Women in Rock While Giving Back

Courtesy of Whitelf Films


Proceeds from the June 30-July 1 event go to Girls Rock Camp, Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter and more.

Canada’s Metalocalypstick -- a portmanteau of metal, local, lipstick and apocalypse -- is an apropos name for a Rocky Mountain music festival with a lineup of metal acts with female singers and musicians.  

Taking place on Canada Day weekend (June 30 and July 1) in Lone Butte Community Hall, with on-site camping in the quiet volcanic-neck town of Lone Butte, British Columbia, Metalocalypstick was set up three years ago as a nonprofit to support woman in metal, punk, hardcore and heavy genres. The organization describes itself as a foundation "all about gender equality, yet we want to promote how awesome it is when females and males work together and celebrate our differences."

June 30 features Cabrakaan, Obsidian, Siren's Rain, The Vth Circle, Breaking The Silent, This Is The Silence, Heron, Disturb The Dead, Sugarwash and Crimson Caliber, with DelDesierto, Kosm, Anarcheon, At Dawn's Edge, Juliet Ruin, Forsaken Rite, Violent Betty, Opus Arise, Ophelia Falling and Syryn performing on July 1. Save for Cabrakaan and DelDesierto, who hail from Mexico, and Siren's Rain, from the U.S., the lineup is predominantly Canadian.

Festival creator Kaija Marie, who fronts Anarcheon, tells Billboard in an email that being female in a metal act is “pretty chill,” even in such a male-dominated environment: “I suppose it's easier to get recognition simply for the fact that there aren't as many females as males, but other than that I am just one of the dudes.”

And unlike other events -- like this summer’s inaugural Statement Festival in Sweden, which aims “to try to have 100 percent women working and playing" -- dudes are allowed at Metalocalypstick, whether they're onstage, working as crew, or watching in the audience. Families are welcome and kids 11 and under get in for free. The criteria is simply that all the bands on the bill must have at least one female member. Marie had previously said in promotional materials for the festival that she wanted “to present a unique experience within the Western Canadian metal community, a gathering of similar views, aspirations and musical taste, similar to former mainstream music festival Lilith Fair.”

Gender disparity was certainly one of the reasons for Metalocalypstick, but also so that girls and young women — like Marie’s daughter — could see that females can and do rock onstage, as much as any man. There's a give-back component as well: The Metalocalypstick Fest Foundation donates 100 percent of the proceeds to local relevant charities.

While splits vary year-to-year, this year 25 percent will go to Girls Rock Camp, a worldwide alliance that empowers girls through music; 15 percent to the Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter, Canada’s oldest rape crisis center; 10 percent to the self-explanatory Land Defenders; and 50 percent to an indie band hand-picked by a panel of judges.

“To add to the #metoo [discussion], as a woman, we have all felt violated,” Marie tells Billboard. “To be honest, I feel most safe at metal shows than anywhere else in public. I feel like [in] this genre of music there is a certain mentality ... are always some bad apples. There are everywhere.

"It goes for men, too," she continues. "It seems that men also are violated too, and the sad thing is that it's not taken as serious ... It really goes both ways. I feel that the movement is going in a positive direction though. The awareness and support is beautiful.”

Festivals 2018