The Sexist Reason This UK Music Venue Is Refusing To Book Female Singers

Photo: Michael Putland/Getty Images.
Tina Turner. Joan Jett. Alanis Morissette. Florence Welch. Courtney Love. Just five of many, many women who are rightly celebrated for performing rock songs.
But if they were starting out today, all of them would have trouble getting a booking at Doctor Brown's in Middlesbrough. This pub and live music venue has effectively banned female-fronted bands.
"We had female singers on in the past and customers just didn't like it - we're a rock bar and they don't think that women should sing male rock songs," the pub's manager Paula Rees told The Northern Echo. "It's nothing to do with me, it's the pub's regulars who come in every week, they won't come in if there’s a female singer."
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Musician Hannah Sowerby told the newspaper that Doctor Brown's cancelled bookings for her two bands, Revenant and Syndicate 66, after learning that she was their lead singer.
"I haven’t been allowed to play because I’m female, despite the fact my band can draw a crowd," she told The Northern Echo. "You wouldn’t get people saying they don’t like male bands, because not all male singers are the same – just like not all female singers are the same. It is a sexist attitude from the regulars and there's no excuse for it in 2017. You'd think we’d be past this by now."
The venue's policy has been criticised by Safe Gigs for Women, a group which works with venues and promoters to combat sexual assault and harassment at live music events. "This is one of the most ridiculous things we've ever read. For anyone in doubt that misogyny in live music still exists, here's your proof," the group tweeted.
On Twitter, many other people have called out Doctor Brown's blatant sexism, too.
Manager Paula Rees has said the ban isn't absolute, confirming that one band with a female singer has been booked to perform in 2018. She also said female-fronted bands who could guarantee their ability to pull a crowd would be considered for bookings in the future, according to the newspaper.
But obviously this isn't good enough. Anything less than giving equal opportunities to all bands, regardless of the singer's gender, is completely unacceptable.
As a friendly reminder, here's Tina Turner absolutely smashing one of her signature hits, "Proud Mary" - a rock song originally performed by a male-fronted band, as it happens.
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