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First ever GRRRL FEST Kirikiriroa is ready for March

Creative community members celebrating at the GRRRL FEST Launch at Creative Waikato, November 2020.

Devised after the 2020 lockdown by some passionate local women, GRRRL FEST Kirikiriroa is set for its debut weekend-long event to celebrate local creative talent alongside International Women’s Day.

GRRRL FEST is a three-day women-led multimedia festival held over the weekend of Friday 5th to Sunday 7th of March, designed to celebrate four main aspects of Hamilton’s local creative arts communities: music, visual arts, market makers and performing arts.

Aligning with the International Women’s Day 2021 theme of ‘Choose to Challenge’ - GRRRL FEST is also collaborating with Hamilton’s other major public events in the central city, including Saw Wave, Pecha Kucha and BOON Street Art Festival - who are also focusing on femme arstist line ups.

GRRRL FEST will be hosting events across several locations around the city, including a gallery exhibition at Never Project Space, a variety-show cabaret, a makers market at Victoria On The River, music events at the BOON Stage, Nivara Lounge and Brewaucracy Brewery and Taproom - with more events and location to be announced.

Director of GRRRL FEST, Gwyn Barrie - who will also be brewing a specially crafted GRRRL FEST beer with Brewaucracy Brewery for the festival - is extremely excited to be presenting Hamilton’s first ever female-led creative arts festival which is celebrating local women and non-gender-conforming (womxn) talent.

“I am super pumped up about GRRRL FEST 2021!” Gwyn said. “I’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of interest and support we’ve received from our creative communities, and we’re so excited to be teaming up with BOON Street Art Festival’s ‘Mana Wahine’ theme with adding the BOON Stage to the GRRRL FEST line up.”

Gwyn has teamed up with passionate pals to help organise the festival, Kat Waswo and Lisa Clausen, who are also founding members of the festival’s not-for-profit trust which was established in October 2020 - the Grrrl Fund Arts Trust.

Kat says she is ‘super proud’ to be part of GRRRL FEST. “I feel extremely fortunate to help establish this festival, and being a founding member of the trust which has big long term goals in assisting local womxn’s creative projects,” she said.

Ex-musician from local band Cheshire Grimm and a soon-to-be graduating communication student from Wintec’s School of Media Arts, Kat has first-hand experience with the lack of gender diversity in the creative industries.

“The creative industries are still male-dominated,” she said. “Particularly with music and screen [industries]. But more conversation and awareness is happening now with ensuring gender diverse talent - which you can see with a lot of the music festival lineups this year.”

Inspired by the ‘Riot grrrl’ feminist movement in the early 1990’s from the US punk-rock scene in Washington, GRRRL FEST is all about providing stages, spaces and places to empower and uplift local female artists and creative talent.

“We still have a long way to go,” Kat says. “Specifically with the leadership roles in the creative industries. This is why we still need events like GRRRL FEST - to creative safe spaces and events for women and non-binary artists to celebrate and encourage their creative careers.”

Powered by the Grrrl Fund Arts Trust (GFAT) this will be an inclusive event - meaning all people who share our commitment to the empowerment of women/womxn are invited to be involved in all aspects of the festival from creative participants, organisers, performers, festival attendees, crew and volunteers -  as well as potential sponsorship partners and friends of GRRRL FEST Kirikiriroa.

Applications are open until 5pm on Tuesday 26 January - or email any enquiries about how you can get involved with GRRRL FEST to

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