STEALING SHEEP’s Suffragette Tribute was one of the most important performances of Sound City 2018. With the festival pledging to achieve a 50/50 gender balance on their line-ups, conferences, commissions and production teams by 2022, it was refreshing and exciting to see this all-women performance celebrating the centenary of women’s suffrage.
“It’s about trying to get more women involved in the music industry through different projects. The standard format is generally male-dominated” said Stealing Sheep’s Emily Lansley, speaking to us during the festival. The performance was co-commissioned by Brighter Sound – a Manchester-based charity who are addressing gender equality in the music industry through their flagship Both Sides Now campaign – and Edge Hill University. Stealing Sheep will be taking this performance on the road to a number of festivals during the year (End Of The Road, Festival No. 6) to continue the discussion.
The visually stunning parade involved 20 women drummers and 20 women dancers from Edge Hill University’s BA (Hons) Dance programme. Cathy Butterworth, Edge Hill’s Arts Manager, notes that “a lot of our students are women, but not a lot would think they could go into performing arts at festivals. Access to the music industry is important.”
We sent photographer Stu Moulding along to the rehearsals at Invisible Wind Factory and the final performances at Camp and Furnace, which took place on both evenings of the event just prior to the headliners’ performances. His photographs capture the essence of the project: an unapologetic celebration of women’s creativity.
“With feminist power at its core, this performance art piece is a truly empowering vision to witness in the middle of a festival line-up”