It’s been a pretty heavy week for Camp Cope. Following the band’s protest at being relegated to a smaller stage while their male counterparts received main stage billing and drew a far smaller crowd, they’ve sadly received major backlash for the comments. Now, countless bands have thrown their support behind the band’s campaign to stamp out inequality, exclusion, and sexual assault.
During Camp Cope’s Byron Bay’s Falls Festival slot last week, the group called out the festival for a lack of female acts, and for hiding them away on a smaller stage. “It’s another man telling us we can’t fill up a tent, it’s another fucking festival booking only nine women,” Georgia Maq shouted to rapturous applause.
Soon enough, Falls Festival organisers responded with their own statement, claiming simply “We book the best bands available at the time of booking taking gender balance into consideration, which can be challenging.”
The band addressed the issue once again during their performance at the Fremantle leg of the festival yesterday. “It’s not about filling a quota, it’s not about all that fucking rubbish,” The Music noted Maq as saying.
“It’s about the type of world we want to see in music, we want an equal, diverse and inclusive music community, because that’s what it is,” she continued. “It’s not represented properly on festival line-ups or in big shows, it’s bullshit and we’ve had enough of it.”
Camp Cope’s comments were picked up by numerous other members of the Aussie music community, including Jen Cloher, who took to Facebook to share her thoughts on the matter.
“In 2017 women and gender non conforming artists dominated both critically and commercially all around the world,” Cloher wrote. “There is no longer an excuse to not schedule these artists at prime time on main-stages. If you do not believe your ‘audiences’ can cope with that, then it’s time you schooled your audiences by changing the status quo.”
“If you wish to remain regressive in your programming, wage structures and support of women and gender non conforming artists, we will no longer support your organisations.”
Shortly after their Byron Bay performance, Camp Cope attempted to focus their attention on the stamping out of sexual assaults at gigs, following an incident at the Marion Bay leg of the festival which saw a woman assaulted in the mosh pit.
The band quickly created shirts which read “The person wearing this shirt stands against sexual assault and demands a change.” Camp Cope called upon other falls festival acts to wear the shirts in support of the cause. Members of Luca Brasi, Bad//Dreems, Wet Lips, Ecca Vandal, and Thundamentals all shared their support, wearing shirts during their sets at the Fremantle leg of the festival over the weekend.
While Camp Cope’s efforts to take a stand for what they believe in have often been met with criticism and derision by many members of the music-consuming public, the fact remains that the band are taking huge personal and professional risks in standing up for what they believe in with hopes of seeing change in the world. Whether you believe it or not, this is honourable work, and Camp Cope are quickly cementing themselves as one of the most important acts in Australia today.