There has been a lot of focus in the media on the lack of female presence in the music industry at both the top and grass roots level of the music industry. Music festivals Reading & Leeds were criticised earlier this year for an 89.6% all-male line up at its festival. However, it’s not just Reading & Leeds. Isle Of Wight Festival, T in the Park, End of the Road … all of these festivals are significantly male- dominated. BBC statistics showed that last year, 84% of headliners at music festivals were men.
Ents24.com demonstrated that this trend occurs not only at festivals but takes place on a daily basis at regular shows. They chose a day at random (12th October 2017) and found out of the 370 gigs listed on their listings website, 69% of the acts (255) were made up entirely of men, while just 9% (33) were female-only (half of these being solo artists).
Outside of the performance arena, a recent study by Georgina Born and Kyle Devine entitled ‘Music Technology, Gender, and Class: Digitization, Educational and Social Change in Britain’, highlighted the “highly (male) gendered digital music field” in which approximately 90% of music technology students are currently white males. The outcome is that the creative field becomes dominated by male practitioners, male lecturers and male authors.
That’s not to mention the recent furore surrounding a Teesside music venue when they announced they’d no longer put on bands with female singers, as they “can’t sing rock.”
With all these negative headlines and a male dominated industry it’s easy to see why women are underrepresented in the world of modern music and so following on from their successful ‘Womenfolk’ event in Oct 2017, Darlington music collective Tracks are putting on a day to celebrate females in music, with a programme of activities culminating in a gig on the evening, aiming to teach and inspire the next generation and lead the way to equality in music.
This showcase of amazing women in music will take place at the new Theatre Hullabaloo space that’s just opened in Darlington and will feature a songwriting workshop for women, (1-3pm) delivered by Liz Corney (from The Cornshed Sisters, Field Music), where participants are encouraged to bring their instrument and are offered guidance in all things musical composition. (Places are limited; so booking’s advised using this link: skiddle.com/e/13131591)
This will be followed by a panel discussion (3.30pm-4.30pm) around the topics of issues facing women in the music industry today and what can be done to make a change. Panellists include Rianne Thompson from BBC Tees, Hannah Van Thompson (of the Van T’s), Claire Dupree from Narc Magazine, and Liz Corney (The Cornshed Sisters / Field Music), with Sarah Wilson from Tracks/BIG Little Gigs chairing. The discussion will last an hour with some time allocated for questions from the audience at the end.
The event will conclude with an evening performance (Doors 7pm) by quality female artists in the form of BBC 6 Radio playlisted singer-songwriter Eve Conway, much hyped hip-hop act Leddie MC and energetic electro-pop pioneers Twist Helix. Headlining the night is hotly tipped Scottish 4-piece, The Van T’s whose ‘surf-pop with rock swagger balanced by sugar-pop harmonies’ have gained the attentions of radio DJs and music publications around UK and Europe, leading to appearances at T in the Park & Wickerman Festival as well as support slots with Honeyblood, Sunflower Bean and Rat Boy.
Tracks are a not-for-profit organisation and any money raised from ticket sales will go back into funding future Noisy Daughters events. The workshop is open to females only, but all are welcome at either the panel or the gig, as it’s important for everyone to understand the challenges that need to be overcome to make the music industry a more inclusive place.
Sarah Wilson from Tracks said… ‘It’s vital to give women in music credible, female-led music events nationally and it’s brilliant that we can do this in our hometown of Darlington. We are hoping to inspire the next generation of female musicians whilst giving a platform to the current batch of female artists that are leading the way.”
Noisy Daughters takes place on Saturday 3rd March. The workshop & panel discussion are free, and tickets for the gig are £6 ADV/£9 OTD (£4 for concessions/NUS holders/unemployed with proof) are available online from Skiddle (www.skiddle.com/e/13131578), or physical tickets can be purchased from The Pennyweight in Darlington.
12 + event (under 16s accompanied by an adult).