• Text by HUCK HQ
Forever punk — In the shadow of music meccas Seattle, Olympia and Portland, a new wave of all-inclusive, female-led punk is bursting out of small-town, blue-collar Tacoma.

The Pacific Northwest wears its punk heritage proudly across its sleeve. But while Seattle, Olympia and Portland have grown comfortable hawking their musical heritage to tourists, a new upstart is increasingly stealing the limelight.

“Tacoma is a misfit city,” Hozi from Lozen explains. “A lot of people feel comfortable to be themselves here in a way that you wouldn’t necessarily feel in Seattle or Olympia, because those places have so much of an identity. Here you just are who you are.”

Parked smack bang in the middle of small-town, blue-collar Washington State, Tacoma is the last place you’d expect to be seeing a female-led musical revolution. But the local scene is thriving because of an openness and inclusiveness its bigger neighbours lack.

If you just wanna write about women, cats and depression, that’s cool. “I work in a place where you don’t have to be female or male or transgender or goth or punk – you’re just you,” artist Michelle Bergin explains.

In Misfit City we meet the diverse community of artists putting Tacoma on the map, through electric shows run out of a tight-knit network of indie bars and basement venues in people’s houses.

It’s the latest episode in our Huck Across America documentary series, where we explore what the American Dream means today – to the people on the fringes: the outsiders, immigrants and countercultural figures ignored by the mainstream.

Directed by Smriti Keshari, edited by Isabel Freeman.