Meet Kaija Kinney – Founder Of Canadian Music Festival ‘Metalocalypstick’ Celebrating Women In Metal

If you are an avid outdoor music festival lover, you most likely have come across a few of the following headlines over the past few years: “Music festivals have a glaring women problem”, “Why so few women on music festival lineups?”, “Coachella: plenty of bros but where are the female headliners?” and “The real reason summer festivals have so few women“, to name just a few. It’s not as if there is any lack of female artists existing, willing to perform, or popular enough to draw audiences.

Despite women generally making up 50% of some of the world’s major festivals, as investigated by the Huffington Post in 2016, the problem isn’t singular, nor is it just blatant sexism. Factors such as budgets, artists’ touring schedules, and ego (some artists don’t want to be anything BUT the headliner and refuse to take any other slot) can lead to the huge disparity we see. But then there really are issues of gender such as stories of female artists being paid less, and the music festival circuit mirroring the rest of the music industry which is still largely run and dominated by men.

Thanks to digital streaming services and numerous other disruptive models that have skewered the traditional music industry record label hierarchy model, we may start to see this change drastically. With unique ways to raise money (crowd-funding, for instance), and more avenues to promote and share information (social media and user-generated video platforms) there is no singular way to “spread the word” anymore.

One woman who is seeking to raise the profile of women in music and offer a space for audiences to see a dominant amount of female artists, is Kaija Kinney. A musician herself, she is also the founder of the Metalocalypstick music festival which launched in 2016 in Valemount, Canada. The idea for the festival, which is Western Canada’s only only outdoor fest celebrating women in metal, came about after Kaija was researching female-based festivals for her band Anarcheon to apply for.

Deciding to take matters into her own hands, she began organizing the first annual Metalocalypstick which features the likes of Van Halst, Brazil’s Nervosa, Egypt’s Massive Scar Era, Hollywood’s The Maension, and many more female-centric metal bands from across Canada. This year, the festival will be held in Lone Butte, BC on Canada Day weekend (July 1st and 2nd) and will once again bring women to the forefront of the metal genre like never before.

“This festival means the celebration of both sexes coming together and creating something amazing. People like to say women in metal aren’t a big deal anymore and that we are all the same. I feel that is untrue, this is still a male dominated world and woman are still looked as lesser. I want to showcase all these bad ass ladies and celebrate the differences of men and woman rather than pretend we are all equal. Truth is we are different why can’t we celebrate that?” she said in a press statement.

We spoke with Kaija to find out more about her background as a metal music lover, artist and now festival organizer, and how she hopes to change the landscape for other metal fans.

Tell us a bit about your music background and how you first got into metal music?

I am a self taught vocalist. My first experiences with metal came from family and friends playing by stuff around me. Metallica, Rob Zombie ect was the first heavier bands I really heard and loved. But the real topper was when I worked at CD Plus and was allowed to play whatever I wanted all day.

When I started that job I picked a random CD to purchase and that folks was The Black Dahlia Murder. I was blown away. It was the heaviest music I’ve ever heard I was so in love instantly. At that time it was too heavy for most of my metal friends but as we got a bit older it was the genre of choice by a lot of my friends. I didn’t physically get into singing metal till about year and a half ago. Late, but I’ve always wanted to.

Who were some of the artists and bands you loved and still listen to the most?

My favorite bands that I’ll never get sick of is The Black Dahlia Murder, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Parkway Drive, Eminem, Hopsin, Limp Bizkit, Fleetwood Mac and Death By Stereo; to name a few!

What made you want to start Metalocalypstick and what was the initial planning process like?

I simply couldn’t find many women based metal tests in the world so I had to do something about that! Initial planning was basically research day and night. I spent every free second looking up bands, venues, other fests and how to put on a fest

Over the past couple of years there have been a number of articles talking about the lack of women in some of the world’s major music festivals (Reading, Glastonbury etc). Why do you think female artists aren’t added to some of the lineups at the same rate as men?

I think it’s simply a numbers game. There are like 40 times more men in metal than females. I’d like to believe it’s not discriminatory, just not as many woman in metal bands.

Are all-female festivals the answer, or is it about making festival organizers aware of the gender bias?

I don’t think all female fests are the answer, no. That why for Metalocalypstick Fest there is at least one female member per band. I think the most powerful thing is to showcase that hey, we are here and we are working together as sexes.

The metal genre is still very much male-dominated. What will it take to encourage more women in this genre?

I think more festivals like this will help. There is also an amazing program called Girls Rock Camp. I’ve first handed seen the good row be so encouraged to get into music after these camps!

With the music industry having changed so drastically over the last decade thanks to streaming services, social media, and the traditional radio stations, record labels and methods of promotion not as popular as they were, do you think this landscape will help or work against women in the metal world?

With every good there’s bad. Yeah it’s easier to get yourself out there and be an independent band but it’s also very saturated and audiences have much shorter attention spans for access to music now. In the end I think it’ll help. The more woman and girls that see that there’s lots of woman in metal and music, the more encouraged they will be to follow.

For someone who is new to metal, who are some badass female artists you recommend listening to right away?

I’d say take a listen to a bunch of different types of genres. Particularly I love Brody Dalle of The Distillers, Sandra Nasic of Guano Apes, iwrestledabearonce, Sever of Sumo Cyco and Walls of Jericho.

Something we like to ask all our interviewees: what makes you a powerful woman?

To me power is doing what your passionate for without caring what others think or how you’ll be judged. As well as knowing that you can achieve anything you want. And by that mentality and turning it into fruition.


Here is the full 2017 lineup of Metalocalypstick, presented by, held in Lone Butte, BC, July 1st and 2nd:

Sovereign Council (Kingston, ON) –
Cabrakaan (Toluca, Mexico) –
Violent Betty (Saskatoon, SK) –
Scythia (Calgary, AB) –
Atmora (Windsor, ON) –
Anarcheon (Vancouver, BC) –
Tessitura (Edmonton, AB) –
Massive Scar Era (Vancouver, BC / Cairo, Egypt) –
Remnants (Edmonton, AB) –
Juliet Ruin (Edmonton, AB) –
Forsaken Rite (Edmonton, AB) –
Korperlose Stimme (Edmonton, AB) –
Meteor Tree (Kelowna, BC) –
Kymatica (Vancouver, BC) –
HEDKS (Vancouver, BC) –
Breaking The Silent (Edmonton, AB) –
Life Like Fire (Calgary, AB) –
Sins Of Sorrow (Edmonton, AB) –

Day and weekend passes plus camping available at
Ride Share –
Event Page-


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