30 October 2019

UC Refectory Bringing Women To The Front


In 2018, UC Refectory has solidified its reputation as one of Canberra’s most successful music venues. Hosting 38 events with over 24,000 patrons – in comparison to last year’s six events with 6,300 patrons – they can also boast several sold out shows including Cosmo’s Midnight, Ocean Alley and Allday.

On top of that, UC Refectory received the Out In Canberra Peoples’ Choice Award for Best Entertainment Venue.

A factor of their success is their programming, which has championed women in music. UC Refectory is kicking off the new year with ‘Lady Powers’, an initiative to showcase female musicians, while making gigs more accessible. For just $89 (or $79 if you’re a student), you can snag tickets for E^ST with Haiku Hands and Peach Lane, Ruby Fields with TOTTY, Fritz and Spit Chewy, Vera Blue with Thandi Phoenix, and Wafia with Eilish Gilligan and Aphir.

Image by Matt Sandford

I recently had a chat to Kelsey Bagust of UC Refectory about inclusivity in live music.

Can you talk about your experience in booking inclusive shows?

It’s been really easy actually- there are heaps of rad female musicians, and a really supportive Canberra audience – so it’s a win-win I reckon.

Why do you think inclusivity is so important?

It’s 2018! All promoters, programmers or event producers should be trying to make events that are safe, inclusive and accessible.

Do you think it’s something Canberra venues struggle with?

I think the music industry in general struggles with gender diversity, but it definitely feels like that’s changing. I’d say for the most part though, Canberran venue bookers tend to have their finger on the pulse with this stuff.

Do you think your line-ups will encourage other venues to be more mindful of their programming?

If they do then that’s awesome! Ultimately I think all Canberra venues (and the incredible, growing music industry in the ACT) will benefit from putting on diverse and inclusive lineups.

Can you chat a bit about the idea behind Lady Powers?

The basic idea was to put together a bunch of awesome female-led lineups and then make them more financially accessible so that Canberra gig-goers can come along. Also, I’m totally loving all these incredible female-led acts like Eilish Gilligan, TOTTY and Haiku Hands at the moment – so I wanted to bring them to Canberra.

Do you have any similar projects planned for the future?

The big things on my radar in 2019 are making gigs more accessible, inclusive and safe. Watch this space. There’s some pretty awesome stuff coming your way soon, Canberra.

Image by Matt Sandford

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