FORGET Lady Gaga and Debbie Harry, Scotland is breeding the next generation of musical front-women.

A group of Scots riotgrrls - that's punk feminists for the uninitiated - are getting ready to host the country's first all-female rock camp, a North American inspired week of feminism, music, films and creativity for schoolgirls.

The idea for the scheme first came to (very proud) single mum Jude Stewart during an exhibition of work by young Scots artist Rachel Maclean at Glasgow's Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA), and she immediately started researching the practicalities of teaching 40 young women how to rock.

"I was at this exhibition of Rachel Maclean's work and, although she is a visual artist, I found it really inspiring that someone who is young and female was using pop culture to express herself," explained Stewart.

The 44-year-old later chatted to a friend who said she had been enrolled in feminist summer camps in Canada as a child, but that they had now evolved into more music-orientated projects but still focusing on the core themes of feminism and encouraging confidence and self-belief in girls attending.

Instantly the idea was born, and in just under two months time Glasgow will be hosting Scotland's debut Rock'n'Roll camp for Girls.

Co-founder Stewart said it's not just about teaching girls how rock out and be like Beyonce, but instilling a sense of confidence in them and inspiring them to pursue their passions, uninhibited by peer-pressure, female stereotypes or male dominance.

She said: "It's like the Bikini Kill song Rebel Girl - we all have crushes on girls, we have girls we want to be and try their look on.

"It's great but it's about accessing that in yourself. We do live in a community where we are inspired by other women...We do need these female role models, but actually we can find [role models] in ourselves too.

"It's about having the confidence to try it out, and make a space for women in the music scene."

Stewart herself was inspired by the wave of female musicians on the Glasgow scene when she first came to the city as a teenager including Lungleg, headed up by Jane McKeown, and Swelling Meg fronted by Cora Bissett.

One of this year's 25-strong army of volunteers helping run the myriad of dance, rap, songwriting and performance workshops is 24-year-old Helen Farrow-Thoms.

Alongside her involvement with Glasgow feminist collective TYCI, she also plays in Voodoo Mind Control and has been comfortably (and sometimes uncomfortably) on stage since the age of 13.

Influenced by the likes of Bjork, Patti Smith and The Distillers' Brodie Dahl, the young musician is hoping to help the soon-to-be riotgrrls feel more comfortable and confident with performing and expressing themselves.

"My dad bought me my first guitar and he was really into the music I was. I was always very much encouraged to like what I like, not what my gender dictated I should," she explained.

"A lot of people my age, my peers, well...I got a lot of flack for liking what I did and playing music. I don't know if it was my age or my gender or a combination."

Starting out so young, Farrow-Thoms said she was often ridiculed by her male peers for playing drums in bands.

"People would say 'Oh, you're good for a girl' or 'I wasn't expecting you to be that good'," she sighed.

"I don't see what my gender has to do with it. Sadly a lot of people assume just because there are not as many girls visible that we're not as good and it's just not true."

The singer from Coatbridge is part of a new wave of female musicians and bands rising through the ranks in Scotland, many of whom are also volunteering at the summer camp.

Among them are Cassi Oje of Golden Teacher, who most recently entranced audiences at the Scottish Album of the Year award with her slick dance moves while glorious afrobeat disco pumped out across the room. Their performance was one of the talking points of the evening. She will be leading a rap workshop during the week-long project.

Joining her will be Tuff Love's Susan Bear, with instruments donated to the initiative by Katrina Pastel and Chvrches' Laura Mayberry.

To help with their funding, an exclusive Rachel Mclean print is being auctioned off by organisers with the money being used to buy extra equipment including leads, microphones and smaller guitars for some of the younger participants.

For more information see

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