FemRock is an award-winning DIY not-for-profit and Brighton’s longest running night celebrating and showcasing women in music. FemRock is on the first Friday of every month at The Green Door Store, Brighton. The team also run women-centred club nights called Grrrls To The Front.
As the club gets ready to celebrate their 5th birthday, this Februaury, I caught up with Vicki Cook, to find out how she feels about the growing success of her baby-
Who were you favourite female singers/bands growing up?
My absolute favourite bands growing up had to be The Distillers and Juliette and the Licks. Brody Dalles voice really shook me when I first heard her, it was so powerful and full of anger and I’d not heard a woman sound that way before. It was eye opening. Women could be loud and outspoken and fucking angry. Who’d have thought?
So, What made you start FemRock?
Live music is a huge passion of mine and I’ve always been a big gig-goer. But I noticed one day that of all the bands and line ups I’d seen, I’d seen so few women. So much so that when I did it, they really stood out. It was from here that I decided I wanted to start a night with women in music at the centre of it, I wanted to put grrrls to the front. It’s been so fulfilling to be able to create line ups each month with such talented women at the heart of them. I’ve heard from so many of the women we work with that they’ve been questioned at shows which of the band members is their boyfriend, as if they couldn’t possibly be in the band themselves. Or they’ve been patronised at gigs with setting up their instruments and equipment, as if they couldn’t possibly know what they’re doing. We just thought, enough is enough.
Whats been your proudest FemRock moment?
I’d probably have to say FemRock Fest last July which was our very first all day festival. We had 10 kick ass women fronted bands, an outdoor feminist marketplace and vegan food stalls. It was absolutely amazing. The whole team worked so hard for months to make it happen and it exceeded our expectations and then some! I’ve personally always wanted to put on a festival so it felt like a real achievement. Plans are underway for this summers FemRock Fest too so keep your ear to the ground...
That sounds like heaven! I will most definitely be getting a ticket for the next one. So… Not only have you created an amazing space for female musicians, but you were also one of the geniuses behind Oueer Prom! How did that come about?
Queer Prom came about out of a desire to change the narrative around LGBTQ+ peoples experiences of Prom. We spoke with members of our community about their experiences of Prom and no one had a positive Prom story. Either they didn't go to their Prom or they went but weren't able to have the experience that they wanted to because of their gender or sexuality among other things. People were unable to attend with the partner they wanted to go with because they were of the same gender or they weren't able to present themselves in a way that best reflected their gender identity for fear of being victimised. Because of this, we decided to create the Prom we should all have had the opportunity to attend and experience!
And what an experience it was! People cannot stop raving about it! How are you all feeling about it’s success?
The response to Queer Prom has been overwhelming! From the heartfelt thank-yous and messages from attendees saying it was the prom they never had to the national recognition and news coverage, we could never have imagined this kind of response. Off the back of this success, we plan to make Queer Prom a bi-annual event and also plan to take to the road and have plans for events in London, Bristol and Manchester in the pipeline so watch this space!
BRILLIANT. The spaces your team are creating are so important and a vital part of keeping the community alive. When’s the next FemRock?
Our next show is on Friday 2nd February, and it’s our 5th birthday! Then, on the 2nd March it’s our International Women’s Day Special as IWD is 8th March. It’s always one of our favourite shows of the year!
You can find FemRock online-
WRITTEN BY AMY RIDLER