Monday, July 17, 2006

Wakestock

I’ve spent the last few days at Wakestock in Pwllheli sunning myself on the beach in the morning and listening to music in the evenings which was rather nice. There were a few problems with camping at the site but on the whole I’d recommend Wakestock to anyone who is fed up with the big festivals (although don’t camp on site - it’s expensive and your stuff will get wrecked and stolen!)

However I have to say that this was one more in a long line of cultural events totally dominated by men. The only female musician I saw all weekend was the fabulous Abi Harding, saxophonist with The Zutons. A couple of times we were tempted into tents by female voices only to discover it was a band of prepubescent male rockers! I do find this frustrating. I love my music and get fed up by the amount of effort it takes to discover female bands and musicians. However if the marketing moguls and publicists don’t think that women sell unless it’s pop then I guess I am going to have to keep on making this effort.

I’ve noticed this trend in a lot of the blogs that I read – a desire to consume female produced cultural products alongside genuine frustration that they aren’t more easily obtainable. It is frustrating. We make up pretty much 50% of the market but are so frequently sidelined. I was a little too young and naïve to be aware of the riot grrl movement when it was at its peak – old enough to like Hole and Verruca Salt I was definitely not aware of anything less mainstream. I love the influence it has had on some of the bands that I listen to now and really wish I had experienced it.


The female bands/musicians that I listen to are pretty disparate - my latest splurge on HMV dot com included Lily Allen (obvious but fantastic nevertheless), Robots in Disguise (I was persuaded to try them by a friend of a friend of a friend – jury still out), and Metallic Falcons (yet to arrive but destined to be fabulous). Where is the sense of community? I feel that if I choose to listen to female bands then I become socially isolated with no focal point, and this is such a shame because one of the greatest things about music is its capacity to unite. However whenever I attend a gig or a festival I feel isolated in a different way. Gigs aren’t female friendly. I love being in a pit as much as the next person but not if it means having unwelcome fingers in my pants or people desperately grabbing my tits. Some of the lyrics my favourite musicians write are pretty vile and I end up having to choose - is this music good enough to excuse the words? It seems that there isn’t any way to conclude this post, I’m eternally frustrated by the one thing I love most in the world and I don’t see the situation changing any time soon.

5 Comments:

At 4:36 pm, Blogger Sarah Louise Parry said...

I hate it,too!
Lily Allen is top of the charts, though so a big YEA! there.

I love her stuff and it's about time a female product of My Space was acknowledged rather than the constant references to the Artic Monkeys being the My Space-spawned saviours of music. You know, there are amazing female artists out there on the web as Lily goes to show and finally,sitting pretty on the number one spot she's getting the cred she deserves!

 
At 7:09 pm, Blogger la somnambule said...

Yup and I'm listening to the album at the mo - perfect sound for the heatwave :)

 
At 7:38 pm, Blogger Laura said...

T in the Park was just the same, although I did try and make a concerted effort to see as much female talent (and I don't mean T&A hehe) as possible - saw Lily Allen, the Go! Team, and Pretty Girls Make Graves, so that was good.

I also discovered male band The Spinto Band who I loved, bought their album and the one lyric that stands out is 'If I wasn't kinder her black eye would be blacker'. WHY WHY WHY must there be misogyny everywhere? Grrr...

 
At 1:30 pm, Blogger la somnambule said...

I know - I'm a real indie kid who spends my days longing for the second coming of britpop but I often find bands within that genre to be so blind to the implications of their lyrics. I also hate hate HATE the general feeling among men that by virtue of being male they know more about music than me or their opinion is more valid. I can't even begin to count the amount of times boys have talked over my head about bands and events that I am really passionate about without once listening to a word I say. Grrr.

Lily Allen:
"I wanna be able to eat spaghetti bolognese and not feel bad about it for days and days and days. In the magazines they talk about weight loss, if i buy those jeans I can look like Kate Moss, oh no its not the life I chose."

Her lyrics are far from revolutionary but they are a lot closer to my perspective than those from male bands (like the Spinto Band).

Anyway Go Team! rock too and I am joining you in a concerted effort to support female talent :)

 
At 7:27 pm, Blogger Michelle said...

Some of the lyrics my favourite musicians write are pretty vile and I end up having to choose - is this music good enough to excuse the words? It seems that there isn’t any way to conclude this post, I’m eternally frustrated by the one thing I love most in the world and I don’t see the situation changing any time soon.

I completely understand where you are coming from. Most rock/alternative music is rooted in misogyny but there are all-male bands out there that don't resort to such sexist cliches.

Saying that, you can't beat discovering and listening to female rock artists who can articulate your rage and confusion way better than any male band. If you haven't heard them all ready, I highly recommend Sleater-Kinney.

 

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