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Brandi Carlile’s ‘Girls’ Festival: Eighties Covers, Duets and Karaoke

From the debut of her song with Maren Morris to the big hair of an Eighties tribute, the highlights of Girls Just Wanna Weekend

GirlsJustWanna music festival at Hard Rock Riviera Maya, Mexico

Brandi Carlile and bass player Phil Hanseroth thank Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig of the band Lucius for their afternoon joint performance as part of Brandioke on day 3 of the festival.

Photo by Pete Souza
GirlsJustWanna music festival at Hard Rock Riviera Maya, Mexico.

Patrons watch from a lagoon as the Secret Sisters perform during the afternoon on Day 2 of the festival.

Photo by Pete Souza
GirlsJustWanna music festival at Hard Rock Riviera Maya, Mexico

Katie Herzog rehearses with the band before the Ladies of the '80s performance.

Photo by Pete Souza
GirlsJustWanna music festival at Hard Rock Riviera Maya, Mexico

Brandi Carlile encourages her niece Caroline Carlile as she performed, "Keep Your Heart Young," as part of Brandioke on day 3 of the festival.

Photo by Pete Souza
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GirlsJustWanna music festival at Hard Rock Riviera Maya, Mexico

Patrons watch one of the performers on day 3 of the festival.

Photo by Pete Souza

Brandi Carlile’s inaugural Girls Just Wanna Weekend wrapped up this week in the Riviera Maya, Mexico. Curated by the Washington state native, the festival was far from a simple string of concerts. Carlile, whose By the Way, I Forgive You album scored her six nominations at this Sunday’s Grammy Awards, took pains to provide a one-of-a-kind experience.

To that end, Carlile hosted Brandioke, where artists, fans and even her niece interpreted Carlile’s songs; donned hair-metal wigs and bandannas to stage an Eighties tribute night called Ladies of the Eighties; and welcomed surprise guests like Anderson East and Mavis Staples, who filled in for an unable-to-attend Margo Price.

Carlile also duetted with Maren Morris, premiering their new collaboration “Common,” and cementing her friendship with Morris, a longtime fan. “The first week I moved to Nashville, I went to Grimey’s record store and Brandi had just released her album Bear Creek. It was the first thing I saw and picked it up. It was in my car for the next three years,” Morris told Rolling Stone. “When I met Brandi, I told her I bought your album and I was obsessed with you, and now we’re duetting.”

Both Carlile and Morris are set to perform at the 61st annual Grammy Awards, airing Sunday on CBS.

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