Camp Cope play at the Galaxy Stage on the second day of Falls Festival.
Camp Cope play at the Galaxy Stage on the second day of Falls Festival. Marc Stapelberg

Rock band criticises Falls for lack of female acts

MELBOURNE music trio Camp Cope​ changed the lyrics of one of their songs to call out what they think is a small number of female artists on the line-up this this year's Falls Festival.

Camp Cope is an alternative rock trio founded in 2015, and it consists of singer and guitarist Georgia 'Maq' McDonald, bassist Kelly-Dawn 'Kelso' Hellmrich, and drummer Sarah 'Thomo' Thompson.

While performing The Opener​ (a song about inequality in the music industry) during their Byron Bay show, singer ​Georgia Maq​ changed the lyrics to criticise the festival.

"It's another man telling us we can't fill up a tent," she sang.

"It's another f***ing festival booking only nine women," Macdonald sang to the crowd's cheers.

The band shared videos from their performance in their social media including a clip of the song Lost (Season One)​, with the caption "maybe they'll never get it (putting women higher on a bill)".

See the video here:

​Falls Festival co-producer Jessica Ducrou told The Northern Star that organisers takes gender balance into consideration but that an equal balance wasn't always possible at the headline act level.

"We book the best bands available at the time of booking taking gender balance into consideration, which can be challenging," she said.

"Whilst we have a very conscious and strong agenda to book female talent, it isn't always available to us at that headline level. We have a long-term strategy, which is present on this year's Falls line-up, of giving opportunities to new and middle range female Australian artists, to nurture and grow the future pool of female headline options. We support the core message of gender balance and have been working towards a more balanced line up at Falls.

"We have seen other bands who are passionate about this topic go out and start their own events where they have total control of the line-up, with great success and we applauded their initiative. Taking control yourself, is a great way to effect change."

Reviewing the Falls Festival Byron Bay line up page, a total of 43 acts were announced for this year.

All-female acts in Byron bay were Anna Lunoe, Julia Jacklin, Alex Lahey, Camp Cope, Wafia, Flint Eastwood, Ecca Vandal and Alice Ivy.

Acts including female artists as part of the band in Byron Bay were Angus and Julia Stone, Jungle Giants, Confidence Man, Waax, West Thebarton and Party Dozen.

Other Falls Festival locations included female acts such as Nina Las Vegas, Samsaruh (Unearthed Winner) and Jen Cloher, among others.

Camp Cope's bass player Kelly-Dawn Hellmrich wrote a guest editorial piece for specialised publication The Music and discussed Camp Cope's "overall experience being non-male in the music industry".

"We are very fortunate to have such a unique festival culture here in Australia and there is no doubt that Australian festivals are in the spotlight for both positive and negative reasons, I feel like this gives us a huge opportunity to take action and make a global impact - setting a whole new precedent for festivals to tackle the issues and stand-up for the empowerment and safety of their artists, staff and attendees alike," Hellmrich wrote last November.

The band will play at The Tivoli in Brisbane in March before touring the US later in the year.

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