When 3MBS approached me to curate a new festival for them celebrating women in music, I couldn’t say yes quickly enough! It was a tight time frame with only six weeks to go from the idea of a festival to the opening night itself – but a good friend reminded me of that Leonard Bernstein quote: “to achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time.”

Katie Yap. All photos © Darren James

My plan had to unfurl quickly. From the beginning, I knew I wanted this festival to exist for a greater reason than just ‘because they’re women’. While celebrating female achievement is fantastic, we need to be constantly striving for more – and so I decided that this festival should be about stories. Women’s stories told in our own voices: of who we’ve been, what we choose to embrace, and what we fight to change.

For each of the three concerts that make up ‘Music, She Wrote’, I chose a word to focus the program. The first concert is called ‘Speak’, and...