Ruidosa Festival is the space for Latinx women who are sick of a male-dominated music industry

Music is for everyone, regardless of race, gender expression, age, or whatever else you can think of. Yet, it’s mostly men who run the industry. Go to nearly any festival and you’ll see that most headliners and supporting acts are fronted by men. Women aren’t given nearly enough space to be loud, to create music and to share their art, and this is especially true of Latinx women. This is why Francisca Valenzuela started Ruidosa Fest.

The festival and online digital platform, which translates to the feminine version of the word “noisy,” is giving Latinx women the opportunity to showcase their music and art, while also curating discussions about issues faced by women on and off stage.

Francisca, who’s Chilean American, knows the industry inside and out. After publishing two books and three albums under her own label of Frantastic Records, Francisca decided to keep everything DIY, and continued her career independently. But once she started recognizing all the industry’s sexist behavior for what it was, she was inspired to build a space of activism, community, creativity, and celebration. Eventually, she founded Ruidosa Fest.

In an interview with HelloGiggles, Francisca explains the festival even further, saying,

"Ruidosa, as a digital platform and festival, responds to the low participation of women, and sexism, in the music industry and creative industries in Latin America. The festival seeks to empower women and drive change by sharing experiences and practices, by showcasing exciting music and art projects driven by women, by identifying and discussing issues and challenges related to the music/creative industries and the women who work in it, onstage and off."

The festival has taken place in Santiago, Chile as well as in Mexico City, with panels and events having also taken place in the United States. Alongside, performers and panelists that include Alice Bag, Lido Pimienta, and Zemmoa, Ruidosa highlights established and up-and-coming artists.

But the point of the Ruidosa Festival is not only to share the art that Latinx women are creating, but also to showcase the many ways to be successful in the industry.

Francisca emphasizes that there’s importance in representation, and that by seeing other women following their passions, it sparks others to do the same. This is even more relevant in Latin countries, where gender roles and stereotypes can be very strict. “There is a need and there is value in hearing, learning, and empathizing with a diversity of stories and voices. There is a transformative power in watching or hearing or learning from someone who is different from you. It takes acknowledgement of the micro-world, and transformation to lead change in the macro world, in the bigger community. We need to identify dialogue to activate and transform,” she continues.

Ruidosa isn’t just a festival either, it’s also an online space that highlights women from around the globe and the work they’re doing.

With the online platform of “Somos Ruidosa,” which means “we are ruidosa,” Franscica has highlighted over 80 collaborators from around the world. By working on different projects, putting on workshops, and penning essays and articles, Ruidosa extends from IRL to URL seamlessly. This ethos is apparent in everything Ruidosa creates. Everyone who participates and collaborates with the platform becomes a part of it, helping to create a loud and proud community.

“It has been especially exciting to create a community of participants of #ruidosas who are motivated to be part of the network. I observe much more openness, conversation, collaboration, and celebration amongst artists and creatives in the region who are involved,” Francisca says. And while the focus of Ruidosa may be on music, that is just one part of the deeper issues the platform aims to bring to the world stage. The barriers of access women face in the workforce, the wage gap, sexism, and harassment are all issues this festival addresses, whether it’s through panels, workshops, or music. And thankfully, this work isn’t done quite yet.

Besides working on Ruidosa Fest Santiago 2018, Francisca has a few more things up her sleeve. Francisca tells us,

"We are learning and educating ourselves, collaborating and making it up as we go! We are excited and feel a constant push to participate and use our time and brains and voices to MAKE NOISE (hacer ruido!), celebrate the diversity of female voices and stories, and make the world a better place, A safer, freer, more just, more diverse place with less violence and harassment for women and people in Latin America."

Whether you’re keeping up with Ruidosa Fest on or offline, there’s no wrong way to be a part of the community. We can’t wait to see what Ruidosa and Francisca conquer next.

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