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Girls rock at Metalocalypstick Fest

‘It’s mostly [about] women’s empowerment and feminism’
Hailing from Edmonton, Alberta, Sugarwash frontwoman Alyssa Kasha rocked her live show. Raven Nyman photo.

Women, girls, and men of all ages showed up to rock the Metalocalypstick Fest in Lone Butte from June 29 to 30.

The fest included two days of live music at the Lone Butte Community Hall, as well as camping, human foosball, and even a hot-sauce eating competition.

Millar Hill photo.

Kelly Barrett travelled all the way from Australia to perform at the metal fest with her band, who are visiting Canada for the very first time.

“This is actually our first international tour. It’s been amazing,” said Barrett, the vocalist and manager of Interitum, formed in 2015.

Kaija Kinney is the founder and director of the Metalocalypstick Fest Foundation and is solely responsible for the event’s organization.

“We wanted to do it in a village that could need a little bit of boosting and you know, bring something to the town,” Kinney explained her choice to host the fest in the backwoods of the South Cariboo.

“It’s a really cool area and there’s camping,” she added. “It’s an awesome, supportive town.”

Related: Metalocalypstick fest in Lone Butte ‘a ripping good time’

The fest gains more attention every year, Kinney said.

“We get a lot of new bands inquiring and a lot of people finding out about it. I always get really good feedback.”

Metalocalypstick draws people from Mexico, Australia, and beyond to visit the small community of Lone Butte.

Millar Hill photo.

“There’s something for everyone,” said Kinney. “I make sure that we have all different types of genres and different types of vocals.”

She has even heard from guests who previously hadn’t experienced metal music at all but came away from the fest with a new interest in the genre.

Kinney says that performers at her metal fest don’t have to deal with comments like, “You’re pretty good for a girl”, either.

“That doesn’t happen,” she said. Rather, performers and guests alike feel safe and empowered in the space.

“It’s mostly [about] women’s empowerment and feminism,” she said. “There’s a bunch of little girls here and that is what they need. I wish I had that. Even me, I’m already in a band and I run a festival, but every time I watch these gals on stage, I’m like ‘ah’, it’s amazing.”

Kinney’s band Anarcheon didn’t perform at the fest this year as her guitarist is currently away for military training, but she would later take the stage to perform a song with one of the bands featured on Sunday. Anarcheon formed in 2015 but Kinney was previously in an alt-rock band called Mouthful of Daisy.

Russell Plamondon is Kinney’s biological father and also sells hot dogs and hamburgers at the fest. He is proud of the work she’s done to bring the event to life. “I support Kaija,” he said, “This is all her. Every year gets better.”

Alyssa Kasha is the frontwoman for Sugarwash, a Canadian band from Edmonton. Kasha isn’t just the vocalist but also writes the group’s songs and plays guitar. On Sunday, Sugarwash played their set with a brand new drummer who learned their music within the previous 24 hours.

Raven Nyman photo.

Violent Betty is a female fronted punk band that travelled from Saskatoon to play Metalocalypstick. Brennan ‘the Riz’ Risling plays bass for Violent Betty but joined the band just a few weeks ago.

“I’m kind of the hired gun” he explained.

After a few rehearsals and “about 18 hours in a van later”, the Riz said he’s fitting in well. Drummer Thomas Smith is also a newcomer to the group and visited B.C. for the first time while attending the fest in Lone Butte.

Before the band’s set, he couldn’t wait to get started.

Read more: Females in focus at heavy metal festival

Kenzie Darling is the lead singer and Kinzie Murray is the band’s driver.

“You should come see my van, you’d like it,” said Darling, leading the way to a black and pink vehicle parked outside the fest. Darling’s father Martin Hanson and friend Jordi helped create the van that Violent Betty travels and tours out of, transforming the vehicle from a black and brown basic box to a certified punk rock ride.

William Harack is the fourth member of Violent Betty and has been with the band since its inception. This was his fourth year at the festival, too, and he and Darling have known each other for at least 15 years.

Raven Nyman photo.

“It’s just awesome,” he said of the fest. “Really good vibes, it’s just a lot of fun. That’s all I need to come back.”

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Ana Zepeda served tacos and northwestern Mexican food at Metalocalypstick through the catering service she shares with Abelardo Mayoral: Tacos De Sonora. Zepeda also won the hot sauce eating competition that took place over the weekend. Raven Nyman photo.
Kenzie Darling is the lead singer for Violent Betty. The band drove their black and pink van all the way to B.C. from Saskatchewan. Raven Nyman photo.
Hailing from Edmonton, Alberta, Sugarwash frontwoman Alyssa Kasha rocked her live show. Raven Nyman photo.