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Back with Passion 

Chicks with Picks returns for its sixth year to benefit the Bethlehem Inn

It’s girls’ night out when female-fronted bands throw down at VTP this Saturday.
  • It’s girls’ night out when female-fronted bands throw down at VTP this Saturday.

After a one-year hiatus, Chicks with Picks returns to the Volcanic Theatre. Stacie Johnson, lead singer of Broken Down Guitars, has organized the event, now in its sixth year, to feature and highlight female-fronted bands.

"This year it's all about passion, it truly is," Johnson says. "Coming back from the break of not having it last year, you can't just go away for a year and work your way back in. You have to come back in with something to regain the balance and the stature. This event is going to go on forever, I truly believe."

Chicks with Picks features three female-fronted bands and a collaborative all-female performance at the end of the show. Butterfly Breakdown, a rock and soul acoustic trio from Portland, opens the show. Bend's Downhill Ryder plays next, followed by Johnson's band, Broken Down Guitars.

"My favorite thing is the all-girl band at the end," says Downhill Ryder singer Kim Kelley. "We had so much fun a couple years ago. An all-female band getting together is definitely a highlight."

The all-female performance acts as the pinnacle of the Chicks with Picks event. Not only is it a highlight for the performers themselves, but the audience loves the collaboration and camaraderie among these talented ladies.

"Music is here to express many different emotions and I think you'll see a lot of feminine emotion come out of our performance. We've picked our songs just right. There are seven girls, all of us singers, it's going to be full of harmonies," says Johnson.

Johnson has teamed up with RelyLocal to organize the sponsorships, raffle and auction items for this year's event. The event itself raises money for the Bethlehem Inn, a shelter serving families and individuals in Central Oregon.

When it comes to the root of the event, Chicks with Picks highlights the talents of female musicians in the Bend music scene. Butterfly Breakdown joins the event from Portland this year, but has long been a regular in the Bend live music landscape. The band features three women, all roommates, who write and create music together. During the all-female performance, everyone plays their own instruments, including Butterfly Breakdown's Anastasia Gilliam on the cahon, a type of box drum.

"It seems like every female musician that has ever gotten involved with this event has had an open heart," says Johnson. "The women come in with big, open hearts, which you don't always get from a room full of dudes. Love my dudes, couldn't do it without them, but the girls offer a little extra tender touch that is so needed."

Johnson has organized the event all six years of its existence and loves when people show up and enjoy themselves. In addition to collaborating with fellow female musicians, the event provides a memorable night of entertainment for the whole community.

"When people show up, truly enjoy it and talk about it all year long and cannot wait for the next year for it to happen again, that's the most special thing," says Johnson. "When it feels like a staple."

Chicks with Picks

Saturday April 22, 7pm

Volcanic Theatre Pub

70 SW Century Dr., Bend


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