Pennsylvania native Melissa Meszaros moved to the Pacific Northwest eight years ago and began booking shows for Slabtown last December. Among her first brainstorms: a four-day, grrrl-empowering onslaught of music, visual art, comedy and outreach presented in tandem with the venue's fledgling All-Ages Collective.
Meszaros discussed the inaugural Grrrl Front, which features headliners the Vandies, Rocket 3 and Delaney & Paris among its more than 30 acts, and why she believes the mighty ârrrâ is as relevant as ever. âIt hasnât been done in a long time, and thereâs not enough of it,â she says.
WW: What was the impetus for Grrrl Front?
Melissa Meszaros: I moved here because of being a young kid really inspired by the riot-grrrl movement. So I thought up the idea of doing something incorporating feminism and all ages, and bringing the younger crowd into the older crowd. We decided just to keep it low-key, keep it at Slabtown, keep it very DIY more than anything, and we figured if we could build a festival based on that, we can help these bands get the recognition that they deserve.
There tends to be a noninclusive stigma attached to these gender-focused events. Whatâs your response?
I think about Kurt Cobain wearing a dress and calling himself a riot grrrlâand that kind of feeds into the history of it. I would say anybody could be a riot grrrl, and that feeds into the queer demographic and the transgender demographic as well.
What else sets the event apart?
Itâs not just punk rock. Itâs also folk music. Weâre covering more than one genre, which also speaks back to the appeal of it being not just about all-female, all-feminism. Itâs all types of music, all types of art. We have comedians who are really phenomenalâStacey Hallal I saw open for Bob Saget. When choosing a band, I made sure to appeal to people that like different types of music, and not just this one conceptual idea of riot grrrl. I really want that to change.
SEE IT: Grrrl Front is at Slabtown, 1033 NW 16th Ave., on Thursday-Sunday, April 11-14. 7 pm Thursday-Friday, 6 pm Saturday-Sunday. $20 for full-weekend tickets, $7 at door for individual shows. All ages. See slabtownbar.net for full schedule.