Pink Mafia boss Anna Von Frances wouldn't take "it is what it is" as an answer to why female deejays aren't getting the same opportunities as the boys, and took it upon herself to lead the way with Get Er Done, a six-city all-female DJ tour that kicks off tonight (July 3) in Whistler, BC at Maxx Fish.
The tour, which then hits Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto and Montreal (see below for dates), features DJs Betti Forde, Bitchin' and Fierce Helder, with special guests in each market, such as Wax Romeo, Short N' Sweet, DJ Barbi and a debut performance by The Royal Society.
"I came up with the idea when I was in Calgary [for the Junos] talking to Miche [Stirling] in Bitchin," says Toronto's Von Frances, whose Pink Mafia has quickly become one of the hottest party planners in Canada. "We were talking about being girls in this industry. It was kind of idle chat. We were saying, 'I know so many good girl DJs. Why don't we do an all-girl tour?'
"Nothing against the guys. We love the guys we work with, but I've watched many talented girls get held back for no reason, while men are avidly pushed forward. Women stay in opening spots, and their money stays the same. Women get low-balled. So women have responded by doing their own thing. More girls book their own stuff; they manage their own sh*t; they do their own press; they get out there as a way to get around it and get ahead of it as much as they can because no one's helping them," she explains.
"The discrimination is so imbued in everybody, it isn't even on purpose; it just is what it is, and I hear women say that all the time, 'It is what it is.'"
Booking the six shows was fairly easy, says Von Frances. All the headliners have impressive resumes and repertoire and she and Stirling have good relationships with other promoters because they do their own shows and events as well.
"These are talented people. It's not a hard sell," says Von Frances. "But people have been one way or the other. They've either passed right off the bat without hearing anything -- and it's not a girl thing -- or they're into it before you've even finished your sentence."
Betti Forde (of the raunchy electro-rap band StinkMitt) is a sought after DJ in Vancouver's underground music scene, who has spun in U.K. and Paris nightclubs, and opened back home for Peaches and Miss Kier (Deelite); Toronto's Bitchin' is the duo of Mama Miche and Kenzie Clarke who in their three years together has played Canada's Shambhala Music Festival and Soundwave as well as at the Glade Festival in England; and Fierce Helder divvies up her time as a member of the Nelly Furtado-endorsed group Fritz Helder & The Phantoms with DJ sets alongside such names as Lazaro Casanova, Joakim, and Nic Fanciulli.
Von Frances concedes that no one has tried before to put all these talented ladies on one bill, but if the guys can do it, why not the girls? And the response to Get Er Done begs the questions why did it take so long?
"There's a system where the big guys bring up the smaller guys. They're your friends; they're your bros; and you go on tour with your bros. Most of the male DJs are friends with all these female DJs, but they don't help them get forward. They don't say, 'Hey, I'm a bigger DJ. Why don't you come on tour with me?'" says Von Frances.
"It's not like they intentionally tell them no, but they never say yes either. I manage Fierce Helder and I never knew it was that bad, as somebody who works with DJs until I started managing a female DJ and seeing how she's treated. I'm appalled sometimes. I'm appalled not only that guys do it, but that girls are like, 'Oh it is what it is.' That's just not good enough for me."
Whistler BC @ Maxx Fish w/ Betti Forde, Bitchin', Fierce Helder
Vancouver, BC @ Lotus Lounge w/ Betti Forde, Bitchin', Fierce Helder
Hi Fi Ho Down: Calgary @ Hi Fi Club w/ Bitchin', Fierce Helder, Wax Romeo
Edmonton @ The Pawn Shop w/ Betti Forde, Bitchin', Fierce Helder, Short N' Sweet
Toronto @ Wrongbar w/ Betti Forde, Bitchin', Fierce Helder, Barbi
Debut Performance By: The Royal Society
Montreal @ Blue Dog w/ Betti Forde, Bitchin', Fierce Helder, Barbi, Performance By: The Royal Society, Hosted by DL Jones of Peer Pressure
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