Mahatma Gandhi said “Be the change that you wish to see in the world” and it could be the mission statement for Lunachicks. In recent years this collective of female DJs has grown in numbers and visibility. Since being conceived in 2015 at the NSW regional Burning Man event, Burning Seed, the group have moved from the dusty paddock and into city clubs. In doing so these women are taking the initiative to address the under-representation of women in Australian music. Cyclic Defrost writer Jason Richardson asked organiser Jacqueline LadySparkles about where Lunachicks have played and where they’re going.
What is Lunachicks?
LUNACHICKS is an all-female DJ collective dedicated to supporting and promoting female DJ’s in the Burning SEED (and wider) community. Burning SEED is Australia’s largest Burnng Man official regional event. We strive to create space for female DJs to showcase their craft and offer other DJs peer support and connections in a mostly male dominated festival scene. Our ethos is firmly grounded in the community spirit and the 10 Principles of Burning Seed.
When did it start?
At Burning Seed 2015 the Burning Witches Association, which is a camp at Burning Seed led by Niki Wheatley and Jo Roberts, hosted an event at a sound camp called Alien Welcoming Committee. BWA approached two female DJ’s from Telekinetik Chair Repair (myself and Madeline Snow) to help organise the day, particularly around booking the DJs and coordinating set times.
After the success of this event, Niki and I joined forces to create Lunachicks with the intention of repeating and developing our all-female DJ event at Burning Seed and other events and festivals every year.
Why did it start?
I’m conscious of a gender disparity in festival and rave lineups throughout the 20+ years I’ve enjoyed in the dance music scene but it wasn’t until I began playing music as a DJ that I experienced gender inequality and bias first-hand behind the decks. Most lineups were consistently stacked with male DJs and I was determined to understand and change the status quo at a grass-roots level. I also hoped that it would be a platform that supported new female DJ’s to make connections in a mostly male dominated music scene and to create opportunities for ladies who wish to cross over into the club music scene and vice versa.
Through societal conditioning, females are more passive when obtaining sets and promoting themselves in comparison to our male counterparts. This imbalance has contributed historically to the lack of female representation in the music world.
Does Lunachicks have a niche?
Although Lunachicks predominately play various types of house music at Burn events, we pride ourselves on including a variety of musical styles including tech house, deep house, disco house, ghetto house, soul and funk, psytrance and of course straight up techno. Our ladies play on a range of DJ equipment including turntables, CDJ’s, and controllers. From ladies who are just starting out, and residents of the hottest clubs in Melbourne, to regulars at long standing theme camps at Burning Seed, Lunachicks aims to be as inclusive as possible.
Lunachicks does not specify the musical genre, however our ladies tend to focus on variations of house music. What we do guarantee is to get your booty shaking among friendly faces on every dance floor we play.
Where have Lunachicks events been held?
Our first (unofficial) event was held at Burning Seed 2015 at the Alien Welcoming Committee theme camp. From there we secured our own stage at Melbourne Decompression in 2016, which was a huge success with the room pumping all night long. In 2016, we took Lunachicks to Rainbow Serpent Festival in the Syn City theme camp area where we took over Morning Joint theme camp for an evening party. Later the same year, Buring Seed was cancelled due to flooding so we took Lunachicks to SideBurn – an unofficial replacement event where once again Lunachicks took over a stage and even the infamous Kraken Sub art car. To round out the year, Lunachicks performed at the official Sydney Decompression event. At Burning Seed 2017, Lunachicks showcased our awesome lady talent at the Middle Eastern Mafia theme camp from daytime to well into the evening.
In 2018, Lunachicks teamed up with Babe Rave in Sydney, creating a safe, eco-conscious, and family friendly afternoon on the beach. The Southern Courier covered our event in a news article on 1st March. More recently, Lunachicks created a new inner-city day party with the support of the Melburners crew at the Yorkshire Hotel, Melbourne in May 2018. This was the party where we debuted a live female cabaret performance and showcased popular resident DJs from some of Melbourne’s most iconic clubs.For the upcoming Burning Seed 2018, Lunachicks will continue their traditional day party at a theme camp with a history-making twist. Watch this space!
Who has been involved?
After the initial 2015 debut event with help from Jo and Madeline, Niki and I have remained the driving force behind Lunachicks. Together they organise venues, decor, bar and snacks, book the DJ’s, program set times, hire technical equipment, organise banners and signs, print official stickers, and coordinate spin-off events and parties. DJ Amanda LeMay continues to support our Sydney events. Our friends at Melburners, in particular Aruna Gruk (President of Melburners) was instrumental in our recent successful event at the Yorkshire Hotel in Melbourne.
What has been the response?
Each event has grown in momentum and popularity and at each event the feedback has been of overwhelming positivity and unwavering support. Each time a DJ is requested to play a Lunachicks event, they respond with enthusiasm and excitement at the prospect as I think they know that this is an important movement that is long overdue.
The Lunachicks name is becoming so well recognised and respected that we have received offers to host a takeover night at popular Melbourne nightclubs that usually host well-known international male DJs. Since Lunachicks began to shine a light on this often overlooked issue in the electronic music scene, we’ve received overwhelming positive feedback, including the occasional surprised reaction when the gender imbalance is made clear. The recent increases in bookings of female DJs by theme camps and promoters shows that the enthusiastic efforts of Lunachicks is striking a chord where needed.
How would you describe the vibe?
Fun! Uplifting. Relaxed. Inclusive. Safe. Friendly. Transitional. Open. Exciting. Connecting & Collaborative.
What future activities are planned?
Events are currently brewing for Melbourne, Sydney and the Byron Bay region. Stay tuned for our official Lunachicks SoundCloud page where all the DJs who have ever played a kickass set with Lunachicks will be uploaded for your dancing pleasure. Exciting plans are a foot for our not-to-be-missed annual Lunachicks day party at Burning Seed this year. Please join our Lunachicks Facebook page for announcements of our upcoming events.
Thanks to Zena Hosseini for the photos taken at Lunachicks’ recent event in Melbourne. To see more visit the Melburners page on Facebook.