Promoters, Here’s What Not To Do When You Get Called Out For Having An All-Male Line-Up

One Canberra promoter is copping an almighty backlash today.

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Discussions around diversity in the music industry aren’t new. Over the last few years, festivals and venue bookers have been told again and again to get with the program and book acts that aren’t your usual Straight White Males.

To give credit where it’s due, a lot of festivals and venues are rolling up their sleeves and prioritising inclusivity in their programming. Others, like Sydney’s Days Like This festival – which debuted this year with an all-male line-up – still aren’t doing enough and are being called out for it. But overall, we’re getting closer to a music industry that is not going to allow promoters to get away with ignoring minorities – and that’s a great thing.

Which makes this latest case all the more astonishing.

The ANU Bar Gig Getting Attention For All The Wrong Reasons

Canberra’s famous ANU Bar is being demolished later this year and to celebrate its 60 year history of live music, local promoters Greenroom are staging a farewell show headlined by Brisbane band Regurgitator. A further 10 local bands make up the line-up – but there’s one small problem:

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A legitimate question, no? But the promoter then responded in the worst way possible:

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Needless to say, the online response was swift and savage.

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Then Somehow, Things Managed To Get Worse…

Finally, the promoter issued a follow-up statement:

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If people were outraged before, they were livid now.

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The statement is a textbook example of what not to do when someone points our your unconscious bias – and also an almost comically on point argument fothe need for these discussions in the first place. You know you’re screwing up when your argument boils down to “What’s next, racial equality?”

As of now, the debate is still raging on the event page. Music Junkee has contacted Regurgitator’s management for comment, and they advised us they were aware of the situation, and “are currently working out what to do.”

Here’s The Thing…

If you’re an Australian promoter in 2017, you absolutely cannot claim ignorance on the topic of diversity. It is a highly publicised issue.

And if you don’t, punching back wildly in defence is the absolute worst thing you could do – instead, actually engage with the people that are criticising you and seek to educate yourself. There are ways to respond to criticism without resorting to flamethrower statements. Plenty of festivals have weathered discussions like this in the past, and have responded reasonably and respectfully.

There are three simple rules for discussions of diversity: check your privilege, educate yourself, and don’t be a jerk.