On Friday 14th of April 2017, The Portland Arms will play host to some of the UK’s most formidably talented young bands, all in aid of the wonderful Girls Against. On the line-up are Lemondaze, The Seamonsters, Ugly, Deep City and Wax Colour, and for a cause as worthy as Girls Against, this night is simply unmissable.
Girls Against is a campaign fighting against sexual harassment at gigs, driven by five teenage girls who were sick of being groped in crowds. “We are aware that this is an issue that affects many gig-goers – girls in particular – and so we decided to take matter into our own hands. There aren’t many campaigns about this topic so we felt like one was needed” they told NME in 2015. Doing work up and down the country to raise awareness and turn gig crowds into safe spaces, Girls Against are an incredible cause.
We chatted to Saffy Paget, the woman behind The Portland Arms gig, and discussed how important Girls Against are, the mission for equality in the music industry and some of the influential women who are inspiring change for the future…
How long have you been organising this gig and what compelled you to do it in aid of Girls Against?
I started planning this gig about half a year ago! I came up with the idea after being sexually assaulted at a gig myself. After this I felt even more compelled to do this gig and raise awareness and money for this charity. A gig shouldn’t be an unsafe place it should be somewhere where you’re allowed to feel comfortable and have fun.
What does Girls Against mean to you?
Girls Against mean a huge amount to me, they are honestly the sweetest girls. I am so glad they’re getting recognition for what they do because it’s amazing. They really deserve it.
Who are some of your favourite female artists / girl bands who are leading the way for future generations of women in music?
Hope Sandoval from Mazzy Star is such a talented female artist. Mazzy Star was the band that changed the game for me, my whole music taste has changed because of them and I think that’s special.
Bikini Kill were so so important to the riot grrrl movement which has shaped a lot of music we listen to today, they’re just complete punk feminist icons that don’t give a shit!
More modern female artists such as SOKO and Nicole Dollanganger are going to change things for female artists I reckon. Although they’re still fairly small compared to other bands they’re finally getting recognition because of their talent and “I don’t care what you think” mindset.
There’s a lot of gender inequality when it comes to festival line-ups. Do you think that things are changing?
This year has been absolutely awful for gender equality on festival line-ups. I hope things are changing, I really do. I tried to keep my gig as equal as possible and I’ve got two very talented girl bands playing on the line-up. There are so many amazing female artists and girl bands around and I do feel like they get looked over in some way despite their talent.
Do you think there’s enough encouragement and support for girls who wish to be in the music industry?
I don’t think so. I rarely see girls being encouraged to pick up drums or bass or even join a band. The majority of the support seems to only be for the manufactured pop singers.
Tickets are £5.50 online (available here) or £7 on the door. All money raised goes straight towards Girls Against’s efforts to eliminate sexual harassment within the music scene. Here’s a taste of the lineup:
Words by Meg Firth, with thanks to Saffy Paget