This Latinx Music Festival Is Amplifying Women’s Voices And Giving Coachella A Run For Its Money
Francisca Valenzuela is a master of quite a few trades. She’s a multi-instrumentalist, a published author of various forms and a music revolutionary. She’s also a firm believer in the notion that music is for all people. Women and men of all sizes, genders, colors, ages and everything else that lies outside the scope included. It’s why she started Ruidosa Fest, a music festival and online platform that runs on this concept exactly. In an interview with FIERCE, Valenzuela shared how her project is pushing Latinas to the forefront of the music scene.
Like a lot of radical ideas, the concept of a Latina-focused music festival, sprung from a conversation between women.
Valenzuela had been cracking at the male-dominated arena of the music industry for a while when she first came up with the idea for Ruidosa Fest. In her experience as a female performer, songwriter and music entrepreneur she’s faced her fair share of sexist experiences.
“I have encountered and identified troubling and confusing sexist behaviors — which have taken me a moment to even identify as such and even longer to know how to deal with and react,” says the Chilean-American artist. “I have always felt a lack of access to information and understanding as to how artists — especially females — develop their careers in Latin America and the Spanish-speaking world. Even though the industry has similar struggles and challenges [as] the anglo, it has its own quirks, idiosyncrasies, difficulties and culture.”
The more she shared her frustration of having to deal with sexism in the industry while trying to sculpt out a place for herself as a Latina artist, the more Valenzuela’s desire to create a space for Latinxs grew. “The conversations I had with female professionals in the music industry…really inspired and activated me. I was like, ‘Oh this is happening to you to? How do you do it?'” She explains. “And [I] was like, ‘WOW it would be great to have a formal space of dialogue and conversation of challenges and possible conclusions and ideas; to facilitate that space to speak, listen and learn.'”
Valenzuela got to work shaping a safe music platform for women by creating Ruidosa, a festival whose name translates to the feminine version of “noisy.”
“In spanish, adjectives are adapted to gender. Ruidosa would be a rough translation of “she-noise” or something,” Valenzuela explains. To her, the name comes packed with all the potency of what a woman can be, despite societal expectations. “There are many approaches I like [about the name],” she says. “The fact that words in spanish such as “ruidosa” “histérica” “neurótica” are used for women in general and in a demeaning fashion — as if raising your voice and being present and visible as a woman is a threat, an annoyance, an unpleasant thing to get rid of or overlook.”
Ruidosa’s made its debut in Santiago, Chile in March 2016. For it’s first round, 2,000 people showed up. Since the start of the festival, established artists like Mon Laferte to La Santa Cecilia have made appearances.
But Ruidosa, is more than just a music festival. It’s also an online space that works to showcase the work of female artists across the globe.
As Valenzuela explains, Ruidosa, is equal parts festival and digital platform. After kickstarting the festival, which has powered events in Santiago, Chile, Mexico and the U.S., the artist rolled out Somos Ruidosa, an online hub. There, artists are able to promote projects, extension workshops and publish their own essays and articles. On the site, Valenzuela hopes users will find encouragement to be vocal about their work and passion for their artistry.
For Latinas carving a place for themselves in the music industry, Valenzuela wants women to give power without limits. “I think it is important to elevate and listen and learn from the maximum diversity of voices and stories,” She says. “There is a need to empower women.”
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