Straight off the back of International Women’s Day – 10 March – the Curtin-hosted Athena Festival celebrated women in music, showcasing some of Australia’s most talented musicians.
Orchestrated by the Curtin Student Guild, Athena featured well-known artists Asta, Abbe May, Tired Lion, Nicole Millar, Bad Ezzy and up-and-coming outfit, Mosquito Coast. DJs from the Curtin Electronic Music Appreciation Society (EMAS) also supported these headliners on the festival stage and into its after party.
“I think [the Athena festival initiative] is fantastic, absolutely fantastic,” says Curtin student, Alicia Drew. “We’d heard of the bands, and thought we’d go down to be part of it all.”
Athena’s headline act, Asta, shared with us how other female artists had influenced her work.
“When I started listening to Adele I starting writing a lot on guitar, and that was really inspiring,” Asta says. “Then I discovered Annie Lennox, Madonna, Whitney Houston – lots of 80s artists really inspired me.”As a young artist still at the beginning of her career, Asta admits that her success over the last few years still seems a bit surreal.
“There are moments where I do pinch myself,” she says. “But I think it’s just a constant pinch. It’s just a constant feeling of ‘is this real?’.”
With the Athena Festival done and dusted, Australia can now add itself to the list of countries, along with the United States, United Kingdom and China, which have hosted female-led festivals.
“It was pretty cool to have an all-female line up, especially after International Women’s Day,” says Athena festivalgoer, Mandy Humphreys.
“It tied with women’s week and was supported by Triple J,” says fellow festival attendee, Steve Myers. “And they’re some great bands, so I thought I’d go along.”
While the Athena festival’s main aim was to provide a platform for some of Australia’s female artists, it also worked to raise money for the Patricia Giles Centre, which provides accommodation and counselling for women and children affected by domestic violence.