The third and final day of the 2018 Girlschool Festival. The evening started with a songwriting workshop and panel on immigration x creativity, followed by a reading of Sunday School curated by Jack Jones literary arts. Like Saturday, the music began promptly at 7:00 p.m. at the Cherry Stage.
Polartropica took the stage first, the female-fronted act donned sparkly outfits which included flamingo boxers, metallic tops and a pink metallic jumpsuit. The sounds could be best described as dreamy k-pop, or their self-described “glitter pop.” The sparse crowd in the Cherry Stage room was mostly standing, as the singer shared brief descriptions of each song before she played them; claiming “this one is about vacations” before they dove into the upbeat “Time to Get Away.”
At the Banana stage, Chelsea Jade channeled her love of minimalism and pop to the audience, who were instantly hooked by her performance. The singer and her two back up vocalists wore white turtlenecks and black slacks and minimal, futuristic eye makeup. Chelsea Jade interacted with the crowd, asking them to join her in “getting low” on her cue, and sharing her appreciation for a particular fan who was dancing along wearing a blue polo shirt. Their minimal, synchronized choreography was also well-received by the audience, who easily filled the Banana Stage area. They performed songs like “Life of the Party” and “Ride or Cry,” Jade joining the audience for her final song to get everyone dancing.
Hip-hop artist Leikeli47 was getting the crowd hyped up before she even took the Cherry Stage. Her DJ put on songs like Beyoncé’s “Girls” which got the crowd dancing. Leikeli47 took the stage wearing a pink sweatshirt and pink bandana that was fastened as a mask on her face. The Cherry Stage floor was vibrating like it hadn’t before as the bass dropped and the crowd got into it. She performed songs like “Attitude” and “Money” which were both well-received.
The jazzy sounds of Low Leaf drew in an attentive crowd back to the Banana Stage. Complete with a harp, keyboard and flute, the band offered some fresh sounds to Girlschool weekend. Not only was their musicianship impressive, the songs were complex and beautiful in their own right. The performance read more like a jazz combo, with pretty much each instrumentalist having their solo shot and dreamy jazz chords littered throughout their songs. Songs like “As One” and “Space Foreva” had the crowd watching in a dreamy haze. It was one of the most impressive performances at Girlschool so far.
A string of incredible performers would follow for the rest of the night. Lauren Ruth Ward absolutely commanded the Cherry Stage, performing ’60s and ’70s inspired rock and roll that displayed her incredible, raw vocals. She performed with her entire body, often making gestures that matched the lyrics she was singing. The crowd nodded along to the high-energy rock songs like “Well, Hell” and “Make Love to Myself.” Ward could be seen hanging out front stage all weekend, catching as many bands as possible, and it was no different for Moon Honey’s set right after her’s at the Banana Stage.
This weekend, the harp proved itself an essential instrument in modern rock, as Moon Honey also included one in their mix. The band member’s outfits were as colorful and trippy as their sounds; singer Jess Joy donned a flowing green robe over a black dress with hot pink ties around it, and a crescent headdress. Her voice absolutely shimmered, and their guitarist was one of the most animated performers to grace the Banana Stage. They performed songs like their latest “Betta Fish” and more off Hand-Painted Dream Photographs, all of which were well-received. They also performed even newer songs like “Life Has No Meaning,” which Joy described as a “happy song.” “That was amazing,” an audience member said before heading back to the Cherry Stage.
Former Jay Som touring band Soccer Mommy took the Cherry Stage next to a relatively small audience. After the sonic over-stimuli of Low Leaf, Lauren Ruth Ward and Moon Honey, it was easy to see why some of the festival-goers would want to enjoy a break. But nonetheless, the dreamy sounds of Soccer Mommy still drew in a crowd, even if most of them were sitting down. Singer Sophie Allison promoted their latest album, Collection, joking with the audience about having them stream it on Spotify so that she’d see an eighth of the profits. Songs like “Cool” and “Benadryl Dreams” had the intimate crowd swaying. Jay Som could be spotted in the audience nodding along.
The closing act of the festival, Jay Som took the main Cherry Stage around 11:20 p.m. to a relatively intimate audience, at least compared to the last couple nights. But on a Sunday night, perhaps that was to be expected. The band played a few songs from Everybody Works like “The Bus Song” and “Baybee” as well as a favorite — the title track from Turn Into. The band played the songs quite loosely, add-libbing the endings for dreamy jam sessions that the crowd really got into. They had fun on stage, goofing around with poses and playing of each other with an ease all bands probably hope to accomplish. Surprisingly, they didn’t perform “Pirouette,” their latest single, but the crowd didn’t seem to mind. “I saw my parents today, my mom gave me a crystal she got from a stranger,” Jay Som shared to break the silence between songs, showing the audience her necklace. The crowd laughed, but remained pretty silent just observing the band. They continued the set with the slow and stunning “I Think You’re All Right,” introducing it as a love song to Girlschool. The set closed with “Lipstick Stains,” “The Bus Song” and “Baybee.”
And just like that, the third annual Girlschool came to a close. Some stuck around for the DJ at the Bra factory and to take some last-minute photos at the cherry bath or garden of bleed’n installation before heading home. All-in-all, Girlschool 2018 had really outdone themselves by under-promising and over-delivering. The 30-minute set times ran smoothly between the two stages, it was just the right amount of packed, a wide array of genres were represented, diversity was celebrated and the surprise guests blew everyone away. I’m sure we’re all looking forward to seeing what Girlschool has in store for next year.