“I could book a week of Rack Off! Fest.”

While the current festival climate continues the disappointing trend of booking predominantly male lineups, it’s beyond encouraging to hear these words. Taking place this Saturday at the Collingwood faithful Tote Hotel, Rack Off! Festival will be a downright buzzing day showcasing an amazing array of “femme-dominated bands, performers and DJs”. Founded and run by YWCA Victoria, organiser Joanna Nilson said it was easy to find acts for this year’s celebration of International Women’s Day.

“Women and gender non-binary people make the best music at the moment, the most interesting music. I booked bands that I love and respect, but also a lot of stuff that I haven’t had the opportunity to see yet – now’s my chance!”

Aside from the obvious fancy for a kick ass day of music, Rack Off! Festival is raising funds for YWCA’s women’s housing program. Currently provided support for over 250 at-risk and marginalised women within Victoria by providing long term housing, the festival is raising money to ensure that these women are with vital items such as toiletries, furnishings, counseling and other not-neccesarily-thought-of-things such as computer lessons and wi-fi to allow for job searching.

With a lineup consisting of solely women and non-binary acts, the festival is as much a celebration of women and non-binary people as it is a fundraiser. It’s happening “to lead by example. By showing women these bands and putting on 15 bands with predominantly female and non-binary members, that they can do it as well. It’s also comes from me speaking to bookers, there’s so many of them around that will still book an all hetero male lineup and just say ‘we don’t know any other bands to put on’. Which is absolute garbage, I nearly booked 2 days worth of the festival because that’s the amount of talent that’s out there.”

A big reason why this site even came about was from my personal realisation that the visibility of women and non-binary musicians is frequently and systematically neglected, and Nilson agrees. “It’s because we have 50 plus years of white guys singing ‘baby baby oooh’ and about their problems… I’m more interested in hearing about the stories of Trans women, gender diverse people, women of colour because to me the most interesting music is coming from culturally diverse people.”

Looking at the lineup of musicians for Saturday’s festival, I can’t help but be excited. The variety in acts from psych-rockers Beaches to electro goths Mollusc to the alluring emotive punk folk of Two Steps on the Water makes it a day of seeing what you like, but also enabling discovery. Rack Off! Festival is this weekend, Saturday 5th of March; with three stages of music, market stalls, food, beauty services and tarot readings. Tickets are available here and the full lineup of music is below.

Rack Off! Festival

Holy Balm
Lucy Cliché
Red Red Krovvy
Deep Heat
Pleasure Symbols
Simona Castricum
Sleepless Nights
Two Steps on the Water
Hi-Tec Emotions
Rock of Love DJs

Also a block mount print of the festival’s amazing poster by Phoebe Paradise will by raffled off with a bunch of other super tempting goodies.