Francisca Valenzuela Is Launching a Feminist Music Festival and the Lineup Is Crazy Good

Lead Photo: Photo by Rhianna Cooper
Photo by Rhianna Cooper
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There’s only one thing that would be better than seeing Francisca Valenzuela, Camila Moreno, and Javiera Mena live on stage: being in the room if they all got together to talk music. At Chile’s inaugural Ruidosa Fest, both of those things will happen in the course of one day. Organized by Valenzuela in collaboration with women’s collective Zancada, Ruidosa will celebrate Chile’s host of spectacular female talent with an all-woman lineup that also includes rising stars such as Fakuta and Marineros.

According to Valenzuela, the main thing that connects these women is the quality of their craft. Speaking over the phone from Santiago de Chile, she gushed, “They all have amazing, beautiful, sensitive, authentic shows, whether it’s Planta Carnívora, who is a badass and does this performance art that’s super empowering, or Fakuta and Marineros, who both have this audiovisual world that’s really great.”

Francisca Valenzuela
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This magical, free, one-day event is planned for March 5 at the Fundación Cultural de Providencia in Santiago. In addition to the musical performances, the schedule also includes two roundtable discussions. In the first, Valenzuela will join in conversation about the creative process of music with fellow Chilean heavyhitters Javiera Mena, Camila Moreno, and Denise Rosenthal. The second talk will focus on the industry, with such power players as Carla Arias, director of record label Quemasucabeza.

Valenzuela, who released her third album Tajo Abierto in 2014 on her own label Frantastic Records, says Ruidosa is more than a festival; it’s a gathering and a conversation. She hopes the conversation will continue beyond the night’s last encore. Ruidosa is a celebration, but it also aims to raise awareness of the disparities in visibilty and access between women musicians and their male counterparts. Chile may have a wealth of female artists who are murdering the game, but just like everywhere else in the world, they mysteriously don’t show up on festival bills as much as the boys. “Why do I have to make a festival to make sure we all have a place to play, when all these women are performing constantly and can get a lot of people to their shows?” Valenzuela asks.

The short answer is that so many of the people who make decisions in the music industry are men who, as Valenzuela puts it, “may not be very sensitive to the diversity or versatility or different ideas of projects that have women.” She goes on to add: “They make us compete. They want a festival with one woman and not two.” The award-winning singer-songwriter has encountered these dynamics in the music industry firsthand and says she’s “pretty over” all of it. She vented some of these feelings in the song “Almost Superstars,” in which she sings, “Why must I fit into the mold? Why must I do what I am told?” but she says she didn’t realize these conditions were so systemic until she started talking to other women in the music industry and found they shared the same frustrating experiences.

Ruidosa goes beyond music as well. There is a fair planned with booths representing women-run organizations and businesses. Amnesty International Chile will also have a presence as one of the most visible organizations spearheading the movement to legalize abortion in Chile (Valenzuela has worked with them on a campaign around this issue).

The response to Ruidosa so far has been enthusiastic, and Valenzuela hopes the festival can provide a platform for even more of Chile’s fantastic female talent next year. For now, she and the other organizers are focused on creating a great venue for one of the most subversive things women can do: get together and talk.

See the full schedule at Ruidosa’s website, and check out the festival poster below: