Rebellion Festival has been an annual feature on the festival calendar since 1996 (then known as The Holidays In The Sun Festival), now the family run, all ages festival returns to Blackpool’s Winter Gardens 1st-4th August with another outstanding line-up of punk and new wave heavyweights including The Stranglers, Stiff Little Fingers, The Alarm, Toyah, Tom Robinson Band and more. This year, Sunday 4th August sees the LOUD WOMEN collective take over the Introducing Stage for a one-day line-up of punk and alternative female and non-binary bands. We caught up with LOUD WOMEN founder and bassist in I, Doris, Cassie Fox to find out more:

There seems to have been more awareness of the fact that there are many more male musicians on festival stages than females or non binary musicians, but do you feel there is still a big inequality there and how do you think it can be addressed by the music industry in general?

There’s still a huge gender imbalance on the big event lineups – like Isle of Wight Festival, who have all male headliners every day of their event this year. We’re doing what we can at the grassroots level to help female and non-binary musicians get their early gigs and help springboard them onwards, but it’s at the top of the tree – the large event promoters, big festivals, major record labels and so on – who need to be making sure their events and their rosters reflect all of humanity!

What originally inspired you to form the LOUD WOMEN collective?

Being in an all-female band and being frustrated at being booked as the token women on the lineup – and then being the only women in the room, let alone on stage! I put on one gig and it was great fun, so I put on another, and another … and before I knew it bands were getting in touch, an online community grew around the events, and LOUD WOMEN took on a life of its own. In 9 year we’ve put on hundreds of gigs, and this year will be our 8th festival in London in September.

You started from a base in London and now have collectives in US, Canada, Ireland and Australia are there plans to branch out into more countries and if someone wants to join or establish a LOUD WOMEN collective in their country or city, how can they get involved?

There’s also Spain and France! The internet makes it so easy to work with bands and organisers around the world. There’s even going to be a LOUD WOMEN Fest in Melbourne, Australia this December! I’d love to see more LW chapters around the world, anywhere there’s bands who want to play gigs. I’d particularly love to see a LOUD WOMEN Japan one day! If anyone anywhere would like to join the team they can email me on [email protected] or find us on instagram @loudwomen

How does the Rebellion Festival especially suit the LOUD WOMEN collective aims?

I love Rebellion! It’s run by really good people who love punk music, and who have the true spirit of punk at heart – and that means making sure that everyone can join in. The festival offers a chance for new and upcoming DIY bands to play to a really large crowd – a music loving, t-shirt buying, pogoing down the front crowd at that! So I am over the moon for LOUD WOMEN to team up on the Introducing Stage, and hopefully we’ll be introducing some new favourites to the Blackpool punks!

What do you think have been the main barriers in the past for women and non binary people in getting to the bigger festival stages?

Simply not being booked! There’s no shortage of women and non-binary musicians. We had nearly 1,000 applications to our own festival this year, and the standard was very high.

As a musician yourself in the band I, Doris, and a lecturer at BIMM, what are some of the best bits of advice, you’ve gained with regards to being in a band and maintaining a long career as a musician, whether that’s as a full time one, or a part time musician?

DIY not EMI!

Also. The best advice I’ve ever had is to say yes to everything you can afford to say yes to! Some of the best gigs we’ve ever had have been unusual ones we weren’t expecting much from. But each time you play you never know who will turn up, what opportunities it will lead to, what new fans you’ll earn while you’re there.

As well as your brilliant line up for the Rebellion Festival, you are really busy with so many other elements of the LOUD WOMEN collective – your own festivals, tours, DIY guides, blog and more. How would you like to see the LOUD WOMEN collective expand?

I’d love to collaborate with more likeminded organisations – maybe more LOUD WOMEN stages at other festivals … until one day hopefully we won’t be needed any more because all festivals will be harmoniously gender balanced!

Who are you most looking forward to seeing at the festival both for your LOUD WOMEN day and across the whole weekend, and why?

I’ve been wanting to see Loose Articles for ages so I’m so excited to see they’re playing in the ballroom on the Saturday – I’ll be heading straight over there after I, Doris finish our set on the Opera Stage!

Who are your top three favourite bands/artists of all time and why?

Dolly Parton – because she’s the best human being ever, and punk AF.

The Pixies – soundtrack to my complicated teens, and Kim Deal taught me to play bass (I mean, ya know, figuratively speaking – she didn’t come round my house or anything, sadly).

Amyl and the Sniffers – most fun live band I’ve even been in a room with.

Apart from your LOUD WOMEN day at Blackpool’s Rebellion Festival, do you have any other events planned in he North West?

We’ve been co-hosting some events in Liverpool at EBGBs, and hoping to have some announcements for Manchester shows coming up soon – keep an eye on our socials or sign up to our bi-monthly ezine for the latest!

The LOUD WOMEN stage takes place on Sunday 4th August at Rebellion Festival. Rebellion Festival runs 1st-4th August, Winter Gardens, Blackpool.

Cassie Fox Photo Credit: Minni Moody