In 1983 Calvin Johnson, Bret Lundsford and Heather Lewis started the band Beat Happening. With little experience playing or performing in front of an audience as a band they immediately recorded and released a self-titled LP on Calvin Johnson’s K Records label.
This became the standard blueprint for forming a band. What followed was an artistic explosion Olympia had never seen before.
Some bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam hit it big on the national stage while others remained local. Festivals received worldwide attention, record labels launched world renowned bands and zines started political movements across the country. Olympia had created a revolution you could dance to.
Women were a major part of this new music scene. As artists, they demanded to be taken seriously and formed bands, made zines, and challenged misogyny. Dubbed Riot Grrrls, their songs tackled topics like depression and eating disorders. Lyrics were now transformed to gutwrenching personal narratives. Leading the charge were bands like Bikini Kill and Bratmobile. Together these women transformed culture, challenged societal norms and empowered young girls to find their artistic way in the world.