On Monday they were strangers. On Saturday they play the Trocadero. Seventy teenage girls at a rock and roll summer camp formed 14 bands. Each wrote and arranged one original song.
Sixteen-year-old Alexis Smith came all the way from Uniontown, near Pittsburgh, to spend a week playing drums at Girls Rock Philly.
“In my town you don’t find girls who play guitar,” she said. “To have an opportunity like that is awesome.”
It’s not just a music camp. Rock camp prepares girls for the rock and roll lifestyle by learning to deal with personality conflicts, control their image in the media, and selling merchandise. There’s even a self-defense workshop.
This year is the first time the camp showcase will be at a public venue. The anticipation of playing the Trocadero in Chinatown has kept the girls focused on learning the music.
Singer Shatyra Jones is excited to be on the same stage as her idols.
“The first show I’ve ever seen at the Troc was Julian Casablancas,” she said, “the singer for the Strokes. I’m playing the same place as Julian Casablancas – that’s kind of crazy.”
In the past three years Girls Rock Philly performed their showcase in small community auditoriums, but the number of campers went from 50 to 70 this year. A larger venue was needed for the expected audience of friends, family, and adoring fans.