Francisca Valenzuela’s Feminist Music Festival Heads to Mexico City and Goes Intersectional

Ruidosa Fest 2016 in Santiago de Chile

Now more than ever, the mandate is clear: feminist festivals in 2016 have to be intersectional. On one level, it’s about survival — the exclusionary history of women’s events has threatened to render them irrelevant. On another, it’s about providing the most powerful live experience possible.

Chilean pop artist Francisca Valenzuela is well aware of the errors that her festival organizing predecessors made. So besides being a superlative day of music, her free Ruidosa Festival, whose second edition comes to Mexico City on November 4 and 5, addresses intersectionality in Latin American music head-on.

“The idea is to challenge the concept of female/male — the gender [binary],” Valenzuela tells Remezcla. “I want Ruidosa to grow and be as inclusive as possible, not only in terms of gender identity or sexual orientation, but diversity of backgrounds, disabilities, and ethnicities.”

Ruidosa’s stellar Mexico City programming includes the capital’s gender non-conforming diva Zemmoa and Mare Advertencia Lirika, a Zapotec singer and emcee from Oaxaca whose lyrics have touched on the criminalization of indigenous communities and Mexico’s painful femicide rates. Mare will be taking part in one of the weekend’s three panel discussions on gender within the industry.

On November 4, a panel co-presented by Noisey will address the personal and political in Latin American punk, rap, and cumbia, featuring panelists Riobamba, Jenny Bombo, Ali Gua Gua, and Mare herself. On November 5, two additional panels will cover women’s place in music from an artist and industry perspective. Participants include individuals from Thump Mexico, NRMAL, as well as Jessy Bulbo and Mon Laferte.

Performances by Ximena Sariñana, Vanessa Zamora, Daniela Spalla, Le Butcherettes, Planta Carnívora, and Valenzuela herself are also on the November 5 schedule. An after party featuring Riobamba, Tayhana, Baby Bruise, Phaedra, and more will ride the vibes into the evening.

Ruidosa Fest 2016 in Santiago de Chile
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Valenzuela says that autonomy and innovation were key in her team’s selection of the featured artists. “They are women that have developed their own careers in a customized, unique, authentic way in Mexico and Latin America. They are references in different areas of the music industry — they don’t necessarily need to respond to the antiquated notion of being a ‘woman’ and they show us that there are many ways of being successful.”

Sustainability is the key concept here. “I think this is also part of the conversation in Ruidosa, whether verbal or onstage,” says Valenzuela. “How can we, in the face of a shifting paradigm in the music and creative industries, build and construct our own careers as we see fit?”

The festival’s first edition took place in March in Santiago de Chile. Artists took the chance to tackle the role that gender plays in the music industry. Valenzuela gave us her short list of standout moments from day one of the fest:

“When the journalist Marisol García opened the second panel saying something like, ‘Never have we had the opportunity to be here together, under the same roof, discussing these issues.’ When Javiera Mena explained how she has encountered people who doubt and question her production and musical skills — ‘Who is your producer, your art director? It’s as if people assume that women are merely a tool, an instrument, not creators.’ When Camila Moreno mentioned the idea that ‘one type of woman was accepted — the mother, the caretaker’ but rarely the the woman who is ‘angry, serious, defiant.’”

Marineros at Ruidosa Fest 2016 in Chile
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Valenzuela envisions the festival as an important meeting point for female-identified creatives who are hustling their work in the industry. To put it another way, what takes place on stage is only one aspect of Ruidosa’s power.

“Through these conversations, shared experiences and presentations — musical and otherwise — other women and girls will say to themselves ‘if she can, I can too.’”

Ruidosa Festival hits Mexico City on November 4 and 5, 2016. Check out the flyer below. For more information, head to Ruidosa Fest’s website.