THE FIGHT FOR FEMROCK
Why does it feel as if the local music scene is sometimes hanging on to a single thread, when so many claim to be supporters? With each new day I find myself sad-reacting to the latest status update of a local venue/event/promoter cessation.
Almost anywhere you turn in Brighton you’re never more than 100m away from a live music venue, and it can almost be slightly overwhelming (in a good way) with the sheer abundance of unique, interesting, creative events being held every single night – largely due to the uninterrupted and perpetual hard work of independent music promoters.
Having the relentless support from the locals can be the difference between triumph and defeat for many DIY promoters, alongside having so many hidden benefits for local venues, the artists performing and the audience alike.
It’s not exactly shocking news to anyone but it’s a message that we need to keep reiterating day in day out – individual support of the people is crucial to keeping a music scene alive. After seeing this tweet from FemRock Brighton this morning, it really struck deep with how independent promoters are more than just a name to an event – they’re intrinsically at the heart of the music community and can so easily be overlooked.
The work of what promoters actually do is sometimes not fully understood and usually overlooked by your average gig go-er – you know how it goes. You see a Facebook event, buy a ticket, then go to the event without thinking too much of it. What goes on behind the scenes is so much more than that – months of prior planning, countless back and forth emails, fee negotiation, sorting out logistics such as backline and timings, hoping to break even. Promoters are the backbone and essential to the events you love so dearly.
FemRock is an award winning (winning an award for Most Creative Event of the Year – Brighton at the 2014 Ultimate Planet Awards and was given honourable mention at the 2015 Ultimate Planet Awards) DIY not-for-profit night at The Green Door Store, showcasing and celebrating women in music and the longest running of its kind in Brighton, welcoming and encouraging people of all genders to come to their events.
Their manifesto is plain and simple:
- Not for profit, feminist, D.I.Y, unapologetically political.
- Believe in girls behind instruments, girls behind microphones,girls behind decks, girls behind the scenes, girls behind each other.
- Support our sisters, not just our cis-ters. Recognise that womanhood is a broad church and that we are stronger standing together.
- Believe in the radical power of women on stages to change and challenge the status quo.
- Raise our own voices and raise up platforms for other unheard voices.
- Believe gigs are something everyone should enjoy, so we say grrrls to the front.
- Accessible venues and safe space for all.
Before promoters like FemRock existed, it left a whole community of people without a safe space, a voice or a place to come and just enjoy and celebrate music – one of the few things in life that most people enjoy without any kind of reservation. Every individual can decide what it is that makes them happy when it comes to genre, and can do so without any judgement and I dread to think what kind of place Brighton (and the bigger picture – the music industry in general) could become if we lose this creative outlet.
So please, grab a friend sometime soon and head on down to a gig. Be conscious of the bigger picture – there is much more going on behind the scenes than just a band playing a gig. Show your love and support and help the local promoters in anyway you can.