2023 is a big year for Where are the Girlbands. It is both our 5 year anniversary, and the year in which our amazing co-founder Eve Machin is stepping away from the organisation to dedicate time to her personal composition practice.
Where are the Girlbands was founded by Eve Machin and Ella Fradgley in 2018 in response to experiences of inaccessibility within the local music scene. Having grown up in Liverpool attending live music events, we found we could only name a handful of women on the local music scene. In attempts to fill our own knowledge gaps and create a network in which creatives could find each other, talk about their experiences and promote their work, Where are the Girlbands was born.
In the 5 years the account has been running there have been countless interviews with local women in music describing all too familiar accounts of gender-based discrimination and a lack of safety within music spaces, showing the urgency for events and organisations that centre the needs and safety of the communities they want to support.
There have also been countless moments of celebration, community and joy thanks to the support of all the amazing musicians, creatives, organisations and audiences who have engaged with the project! To commemorate these incredible moments, we are using this months article to reflect on 5 of our most treasured achievements and memories from the past 5 years!
Alternative Spaces programme at Bloom Building Birkenhead
The Alternative Spaces programme was Where are the Girlbands’ first venture into live events through a year-long residency at Bloom Building, Birkenhead. The series was commissioned in response to the UK’s return to live music in 2021 as a way to ensure that gig spaces were as safe and accessible as possible.
With a foundation of community consultation and research around issues of safety in live music spaces, Where are the Girlbands produced events representing a diverse body of people on and off the stage, centring safety and inviting gig-goers and venue owners alike to question the traditions of gigs.
The events ranged from artistic development days to fancy dress gigs, with the variety of output inspired by the variety of needs and wants of our audience. To learn about each of the events in the series, click here
The fantastic organisation who commissioned and facilitated this programme of events is Bloom Building. Based in Birkenhead, the venue is a progressive and unique space rewriting the rules around how the worlds of culture, community, social action and mental health can flourish together. By working with and commissioning local arts organisations, Bloom reimagines how culture can act as the catalyst for change and cultivate social value.
We are endlessly grateful to Bloom for believing and investing in us. To commission us and offer their space in kind was an act of faith that allowed us to bring our vision of community-led creative events to life.
Bloom is open both to hire and collaboration, always hosting exciting and original programmes that can be found at their website.
Comics Youth x Where are the Girlbands Safe Spaces Podcast
The Comics Youth x Where are the Girlbands Safe Spaces Podcast platforms organisations and individuals working to create safe spaces within Merseyside and the wider North West. The show collated an eclectic range of voices from arts organisations and local charities to activists, artists and local trailblazers, discussing their understanding of what safety means and how it can be created.
From concerns around gender-based discrimination, regional youth violence, the prevalence of queerphobia and more, the podcast circumscribes what it means to feel safe as a creative from an intersectional perspective.
You can listen to the podcast HERE
Where are the Girlbands x Charlotte Southall Totes
During the Covid-19 pandemic we were searching for ways to support local creatives and the community. This led to a collaboration between Where are the Girlbands and local artist Charlotte Southall. We produced a limited run of tote bags designed by Charlotte Southall through which 50% of profits went to the artist, and 50% of profits went to Liverpool Food Banks.
Kicking Back Podcast x Where are the Girlbands
Rec Rooms produce high quality recordings of live sets and interviews with musicians for their Kicking Back Podcast. Where are the Girlbands were invited to collaborate with Rec Rooms to create a series spotlighting women in music from the Merseyside music scene.
The series spotlights musicians Amber Jay, Kristrun and Karman. You can find their videos here
Where are the Girlbands Catch-up on Melodic Distraction
Of course, we couldn’t wrap up this article without saying a massive thank you to Melodic Distraction for their investment in us!
Our radio and magazine residency with Melodic Distraction has given us a regular space to share interviews with local musicians, promote upcoming collaborations and host discussions about removing barriers to access within the arts.
We are so excited for where the future will take us and want to say a HUGE thank you to all those who engage, celebrate and share our work.
I (Ella) also want to give my personal thanks to Eve for being my collaborator and half of the Where are the Girlbands heart. This project is born of our friendship, many discussions in coffee shops and over zoom calls squeezed between full-time work and education. I hope everyone reading this will give Eve a big thank you and support her as she takes steps to support her own music practice as she has supported so many others over the past 5 years.
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