DIY collective Loud Women has been championing women in music since 2015 and on Saturday 12th October will be celebrating their 4th birthday with a gig at legendary Islington punk venue The Hope & Anchor with sets from Hagar The Womb, Rabies Babies, The Menstrual Cramps, I, Doris, The Other Ones, Mindframe and Smalltown Tigers.
We got in touch with LW’s Cassie Fox to talk about the upcoming anniversary and why, four years on we still need promoters like Loud Women on the DIY scene.
When did the idea of Loud Women first arise and why? Was there a particular incident that sparked it?
It started as a one-off gig in 2015. Having played on the gig circuit for a little while, I was feeling frustrated at the amount of ‘man-band’heavy’ lineups all the time, and macho crowds. I was particularly tired of my all-female band always being the token women on the bill, and wanted to put on a fundraising gig with my friends’ bands that could be relaxed and inclusive and fun … so I did! Since then, a whole heap of media activity and community has organically grown around the events, but that ethos is still at the heart of what we do – putting on events full of awesome music and a no-bullshit atmosphere with womxn and non-binary people at the heart.
Have you noticed any change in the representation and treatment of female musicians in the four years since LW began?
On a small scale, yes – a bit! Certainly in the cosy bubble of the London gig circuit there seem to be loads of new opportunities for “bands who are not cis het white dudes” to play, with seemingly new promoters springing up every day, which is brilliant. Outside of London though, I’m still often told by touring bands playing LW gigs that it’s the first time in ages that they’ve not been the only women on a lineup. And outside of DIY music… there’s plenty of conversations being had about major festivals supporting female artists, but still very little noticeable difference in the gender balance on bigger stages.
Can you take us back to the very first Loud Women gig? Who played and what was it like?
It was 3rd October 2015 at the (sadly now closed) Silver Bullet in Finsbury Park. The headliners were Blindness (featuring our awesome friend Debbie Smith), with my then-band The Wimmins’ Institute, Argonaut, and Dream Nails. I didn’t know what to expect, and feared we’d be playing to an empty room … but was delighted to find the room full for the first band, Dream Nails, who were playing their first ever gig and had brought all their friends! It was the first time I’d been at a gig with a majority-female crowd – and oh the luxury of being 5’3″ and able to actually see the stage! There was a really fun atmosphere, and we raised a decent amount of money for Women’s Aid too. So it was a no-brainer to keep the momentum going and put on more gigs … and here we are!
There have been hundreds of bands playing countless Loud Women shows over the past four years, are there any nights that particularly stick in your memory?
The Little LOUD WOMEN gigs we’ve done for families have been by far my favourite! I’m a mum of two, and also a big kid myself, so I love any excuse to get extra glittery, get the balloons out, and start a little toddler moshpit! I loved seeing the kids enjoying music up close, invading the stage, seeing what the instruments feel like, and what their voices sound like down a microphone. And parents really appreciated getting to see ‘proper music’ without having to pay out for a babysitter. At one gig there was a particularly humbling moment when a little girl of about 9 grabbed the mic and gave an impromtu speech about how important it was for everyone to be included – I can’t wait to see if she reappears fronting a punk band in a few years!
Aside from the gigs, what else has Loud Women been involved in?
Our music blog loudwomen.org
and monthly ezine have really taken off in the last few years, I’m really proud of those – we have a lot of contributors, so a lot of different voices and opinions and experiences, and they really help spread the word to audiences and influencers. We’ve also released compilation records – the latest of course being LOUD WOMEN Volume Two! Between the two albums there’s over 40 different bands – all killer – £5 each to you! loudwomen.bandcamp.com
With four years under your belts, what does LW have in store for the future?
More of the same I guess, until there’s no need for LOUD WOMEN any more! Keep an eye on the LOUD WOMEN socials for news of exciting 2020 events …
Loud Women’s 4th Birthday Party takes place on Saturday 12th October at The Hope & Anchor. More information and tickets, priced £8 + booking fee, can be found here.
Check out Cassie’s Loud Women playlist featuring 49 artists who’ve played LW shows over the past four years: