Open Letter to Doctor Browns Pub in Regards to Banning Female Fronted Bands From Performing

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As a music lover who also happens to have been born a female, to hear that any establishment has decided to ban all female fronted bands from performing in their place of business simply based on the fact they are female fronted, makes me have to speak up and say something. I can’t idly sit back and say nothing as a female owner of a music publication. It’s my duty along with other women run businesses along with the entire music industry to stand up and say enough is enough. This isn’t me waiving the feminist flag, this is me seeing a true injustice and speaking up about why it’s wrong.

I have made it my passion to write about music and share artists with fans around the world, to help people and bands connect who may never cross each others paths. So to see an article today from another publication (MetalInsider.Net) doing the same work for musicians and fans that Doctor Browns Pub in Middlesbrough, England, who is run by a woman, Manager Paula Rees, has decided to ban bands with female vocalists from being booked and allowed the chance to perform to the pubs audience, I had to put my thoughts down and speak up.

In 2017 we should all be better than this kind of sexual discrimination. Bands today have a hard enough time getting paid gigs and making a living making music, but to now reduce the opportunities to a large number of bands for having a female vocalist is just astounding to me. Although there are websites where you can find bands for hire essex, bands finding consistent gigs is quite uncommon! Her reasoning is even more astounding, “We had female singers on in the past and customers just didn’t like it – we’re a rock bar and they don’t think that women should sing male rock songs”, as she told TheNorthern Echo and elaborated on this statement. “We’ve got to keep our regulars happy. I’m not a rock fan so can’t judge myself but I’ve been told that some women can sing and some can’t, but they can’t sing heavy rock. If we put a poster up and our regulars know there’s a woman in the band, they won’t give them a chance. They’re my bread and butter and we can’t risk nobody coming in.”

Would you tell Heart they aren’t allowed? How about Joan Jett, Pat Benatar, Bonnie Raitt, Janis Joplin, Chrissie Hynde, Patti Smith, Grace Slick, Arch Enemy, Halestorm, Amaranthe, Garbage, The Pretty Reckless, Kate Bush, VA Rocks, Dead Sleep, Emma Varg, Lita Ford, Doro, Butcher Babies, KrashKarma, Kobra and the Lotus, Hail Sagan, Epica, Nightwish, Delain, Hells Belles USA, Zepparella, Black Sabbitch, Iron Maidens, The Ramonas, Paradise Kitty, In This Moment, Paramore, The Agonist, Arkona, just to name some of the most amazing female fronted bands and female singers in rock and metal music. Every huge, successful band started out as some town’s local band.

The problem doesn’t lie in having a female vocalist. The problem lies in the fact that the manager even states she doesn’t listen to rock so she can’t judge who sounds good or not, so why is she doing the booking for the venue? All venues who book live bands need to do their due diligence and check out the band, their sound, their following and what crowd they can bring into a venue and also the venue needs to do their part in promoting the shows they book to make sure word is out about who’s performing. Female fronted bands are a much smaller portion of the bands out there, there are plenty of terrible male vocalists out there too. There are many shows I’ve walked away from because the band was bad, many with not a single female in the band. So how about stop this stupid crap and stop making excuses and step up and do your part to make sure you are booking bands people will enjoy, yes both female and male vocalists.

The other part of this that must be addressed, placing blame on your customers not liking bands with female singers is just wrong. Your customers aren’t stupid, they want you to make an effort to book bands who sound good. I can’t tell you how many shows I have personally worked where bands have female vocalists and even bands that are all female and how much the audience loved them. If you find bands that sound go, regardless of their gender, your customers will show up and enjoy their set and patronize your business which will make you money. But as a manager and a venue talent booker, it’s your job to book the right bands, it’s your job to know how to listen to a band and tell if they sound good or if they sound bad, not outright ban all bands based on gender. For that you should be completely ashamed of yourself. You just cut down all women with one short sighted decision.

Paula Rees, how would you like it if you were suddenly released from employment because the customers didn’t want a female running the pub? I wouldn’t want that for you, just as I don’t want female artists denied an opportunity simply because of their gender. You have started down a slippery slope for all working females with your decision. And what about your female customers too? Do you think they don’t count? As a female who loves music, I enjoy many female artists along with male artists. I wouldn’t patronize your pub, much less your village if they feel this action is ok and yes, I do travel through England on holiday and for music and your pub and village will not be a place I step foot in now. I don’t want to patronize any place that thinks it’s ok to treat women like second class citizens and perpetuated by a woman? No, just no. Your decision has also gone all over the internet (it hit us in Seattle, quite a distance!) and all the bands are seeing it, trust me, now you have many bands who will no longer step foot in your pub either along with many of your locals and those on holiday that might have but now won’t.

I urge you to reverse your decision and make fair bookings based on talent and not on gender. You are unfairly cutting out bands who make great music that your customers would enjoy by not booking female fronted bands. Your decision is much worse than an occasional bad band booking. Come out of the dark ages and into the world of 2017 where females can do more than be barefoot and pregnant so to speak.

Diane Webb, Editor In Chief