Words: Ffion Riordan-Jones, Music Marketing Assistant at The Canteen

Working in events marketing comes with the pleasure of giving bands a platform to share their music. At The Canteen, we host music seven days a week, where we strive to embrace all genres when booking acts. When we saw that International Women’s Day was coming up, it only felt right to honour the occasion by not limiting female performers to an evening, but to produce a month-long line-up to celebrate the talent we have in the city.

Although we are delighted to have curated our ‘Womxn in Music Month’, the overriding feeling of frustration returned when faced with the irrefutable issue that gender imbalance is still plaguing venues. The fact that we felt compelled to host a month dedicated to those who identify as womxn speaks volumes within itself.

The discussion of gender imbalance seems tireless, where raising awareness to bridge the gap can often feel like screaming into a void of no substantial change. With this, nothing brings a greater sense of defeat as the term “female-fronted”. Womxn shouldn’t be confined to a faux genre which enables regression on a topic which demands progression. This expression of segregation is yet another factor which keeps the cultural shift stagnant. Let’s be real, when was the last time you heard the term “male-fronted”?

With initiatives such as Keychange EU pledging to reach a 50/50 gender balance on a wider scale by 2020, this ideal will only be achieved with a sense of longevity if grassroots venues adhere to this idea. Bristol’s music scene is rich with groups who champion female talents, with SisterWorks and Saffron Records actively pushing for an equal playing field to become the norm rather than a second thought whilst filling a quota.

Dedicating a month to womxn in music is just one step in positively challenging the bleak reality of underrepresentation. Throughout March, we aim to create an uplifting environment where all can discover new acts. ‘Womxn in Music Month’ is just a short term fix to an extensive problem, where I feel that it’s every venue’s duty to sincerely make a change.

Check out the video to ‘Toothless’ by Witch Fever here. Bristol owes them a significantly better welcome when they (we hope) next return: