Femme Fest is a chance for the ladies to shine.
Femme Fest is a chance for the ladies to shine.
Photo by George Martinez

Femme Fest Is a Night Devoted to Miami's Women Who Rock

Any Miamian who has so much as thought about being in a band probably knows the name Oski Gonzalez. The Miami local has been putting on shows since he was 15. He has booked bands for Tobacco Road since 2006 and is single-handedly responsible for some of the best local shows this city has ever seen. Gonzalez has given opportunities to hundreds if not thousands of bands of all genres.

In 2007, he teamed up with Kristine Buckley (AKA Queen of the Scene) when she approached him with an idea. Thus was born Femme Fest, a gathering of local bands made up of badass women. With the theme being slightly obvious in the event name, Femme Fest gives women all over town a chance to wear their combat boots and make some goddamned noise.

We got hold of the Femme Fest promoters, made a latte with extra sugar, and asked a few questions about the upcoming Femme Fest at Churchill's Pub.

New Times: Whose idea was it to start this festival?

Oski Gonzalez: After meeting Kristine on MySpace, we set up a meeting at Tobacco Road. I found out she had been to tons of shows and knew lots of cool bands but never put an event together. I told Kristine to come up with her ultimate dream festival and I would make it happen. So she came up with Femme Fest, and our first one had 24 acts and 32 vendors.

Kristine Buckley: As Oski says, I am the mind; he is the muscle. He told me to come up with an idea and he'd make it happen. So I came to him with a notebook of ideas I had, and we made it happen. I am so thankful for our partnership.

The requirement for this fest is there must be at least one female band member who plays a "predominant" role. Why is that important to you?

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Buckley: Obviously, the idea is to shine a spotlight on the local female talent we have here in Miami. We want to see chicks who can rock! Every year, though, we do get male bands begging to play — saying they'll wear dresses.

What's your best Femme Fest memory?

Buckley: The very first Femme Fest, I was a ball of nerves as it was my first event ever. But at one point in the night, I stopped, took a deep breath, and was just in awe of what was happening around me. We had a big drum circle, and a bunch of musicians from different bands were just jamming collectively onstage. It was so good. One guy was so into drumming he was bleeding all over the congas.

Femme Fest 2016 with Dirty Thoughts, the Varona Collective, Snow Moon, and others. 8 p.m. Saturday, March 19, at Churchill's Pub, 5501 NE Second Ave., Miami; 305-757-1807; churchillspub.com. Admission costs $10.

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