DHP Family is backing a national campaign to help the next generation of young female music promoters break into the male-dominated grassroots music scene in the UK.
The initiative from Music Venue Trust and Music Planet Live initially aimed to find 100 new female promoters and match them with experienced industry professionals to put on their first shows in grassroots venues. There was such a high demand that the scheme was expanded and now has 175 young women signed up.
Every promoter at DHP Family, the live music company that stages 1500 gigs per year ranging from tours by Ed Sheeran to grassroots shows by breaking artists, will be mentoring the young women to help them avoid the pitfalls of putting on a show and guide them through the steps they need to be successful.
DHP venues including Rock City (basement), Rescue Rooms and Bodega in Nottingham; Thekla in Bristol; Borderline in Soho; Oslo in Hackney and Thousand Island in Highbury have all offered to stage a show by one of the new promoters.
DHP’s MD George Akins; promotions director Anton Lockwood and Ed Sheeran’s promoter Dan Ealam are among those who have put themselves forward to act as mentors along with promoters Amy Lawson, Scott O’Neill, Alex Kirkland, Dan Roberts, Sam Laurence and venues area manager Michelle Phillips and head of marketing and independent promoter Kelly Bennaton.
George Akins said: “There are clearly barriers to women breaking into the world of concert promotion. We as a company would like to see more women promoting, performing and working behind the scenes and if we can help in any way to see this come to fruition then we will. By having more women working and performing in the industry we will naturally see more growth in the business.”
Amy Lawson, promoter, DHP Family, said: “I’m really excited to be taking part in this initiative to mentor an upcoming promoter. There is a notable lack of women in the live side of the industry, particularly when it comes to promoting, so schemes such as this are really important in addressing the imbalance. The lack of visibility of female promoters will prevent young women from believing they can pursue a career in live music, so it’s great to raise awareness of the issue as well as providing practical support for women making their first steps into the industry. I’m really looking forward to seeing the positive impact this will have across the board.”
Beverley Whitrick of Music Venue Trust said: “We’re delighted to have DHP on board. It’s so important to give these young women access to experienced professionals who have the knowledge of how to put on a show, who to speak to, how to get the best deal and what connections they need. Many of the DHP promoters who have come on board as mentors are also female, which is fantastic as they can give that added insight and inspiration to the young women who want to learn the skills to become an independent promoter.”
The Fightback: Grassroots Promoter campaign has been launched as under 25s who want to promote a show are often faced with many barriers to taking that first step while the grassroots scene would also benefit for the influx of fresh ideas.
The £100,000 campaign will underwrite the shows being staged to offer a no-risk entry point for young women and remove one of the barriers.
DHP Family is also planning further Women in Music events following the successful inaugural event in March. The ‘glass ceiling’ continues to be an issue in the music industry while some particular areas such as sound engineers, venue managers and promoters are highly male dominated. The events aim to provide a platform for positive change.
To find out more about Music Venue Trust, Fightback: Grassroots Promoter and other projects they run see www.musicvenuetrust.com