UPDATE: Regurgitator have issued a statement. Scroll down to the bottom of the story to read it.
With Regurgitator set to headline the last-ever gig at Australia National University’s bar, it seemed like a fitting celebration for the 60-year-old venue, but now both the promoter and bands are under pressure after it came to light that the lineup was entirely male-dominated.
In light of the lack of female and gender non-binary representation on the 11-act bill, and the ham-fisted response by the promoter when called out on it, some were calling on Regurgitator to lead by example and remove themselves from the bill, and the band have responded accordingly.
Being made aware of the situation via social media, they quickly decided to pull out of the gig after a discussion with promoter Gary Peadon, and informed fans this afternoon via Facebook.
For his part, Peadon has remained fiercely defensive of his lineup from the beginning, as reported by Pedestrian, but got himself into hot water with detractors early on when his comment of “what the fuck if a non binary” was deemed inflammatory.
His defensive take on the situation continued, and Peadon points out that he had attempted to book several female performers, but that none were available – a claim backed up by the above response by Charlotte Napangardi Versegi, who points out that her band did in fact turn the gig down.
Peadon also took to ABC Radio this morning to defend himself, Pedestrian reports, citing his ignorance of the term “non binary”, and displaying an apparent confusion between ‘gender’ and ‘genre’.
“I’ve never heard of non-binary before,” Peadon told listeners. “When I book an act, I don’t sit down and think about the genre.
“The only genre I think about is it punk, is it rock, whatever. I don’t sit there and go ‘ah, I need to put a female band on.'”
In this argument, Peadon falls clearly on the side of gender not having to be a consideration when booking a lineup, simply talent.
“When I was booking the acts, I already did ask a few local female acts beyond the bill, not because they were female, and it never entered my mind to ask because they’re female, but because I liked their band.”
“If I’m going to cop backlash over bringing acts to Canberra and paying out of my own pocket for most of the gigs that I do, then I’d prefer not to do them. I’ve got better things to do.”
Others, meanwhile, insist that actively promoting gender-diverse and ethnically-diverse lineups is now a venue’s responsibility, rather than taking the attitude of “why do I even have too (sic) think about this shit?”
A mere few days back, one patron reached out to Peadon hoping to see more gender-diversity at the venue, and he indicated that the main problem he faces as a venue booker is finding the requisite female talent, but the fact that this task now falls on his shoulders was quickly pointed out to him.
Peadon insists there will be no changes to the show, at least on his part, but with Regurgitator making a swift exit and Slow Turismo reportedly following, that may not be his choice to make. As of now, the show is still scheduled to go ahead on Wednesday the 17th of June, sans women and a very big headliner.
Regurgitator released the following statement:
Given our position on matters of gender equality, social justice and equal opportunity for all, we have decided we can not be involved with the upcoming ANU FINALE event. Based on the subsequent responses from the organisers to criticism about the heavy gender bias of the lineup and how this has aggravated rather than managed to accommodate the concerns posed online by people in Canberra we have had to cancel our upcoming involvement in this ANU BAR finale lineup. Apologies to any inconvenienced by this decision.
Music is not about gender but we can not ignore gender in regard to the ongoing practices of music as an industry.
Not excusing ourselves, but not knowing the majority of the bands selected we had no idea of the heavy gender bias of the lineup. We have friends who identify as non-binary or non-gender specific along with many from the LGBTQI+ community. We very much support mixed demographic scenarios where possible covering diversity in gender, sexuality, race etc. Like most we are not without our own flaws in managing such concerns but we are aware of how important this is, so this matter very much concerns us as a group.
Being presented under the auspices of the ANU we also feel the lineup has a need to reflect the typical charter of a unversity in regard to diversity and inclusiveness. In stating these issues and the comments made online from the organisers we have decided to withdraw from this event as their public position runs against all we support.
Given the state of society, environment and climate we hope upcoming generations across the world take time and effort to consider the realities of injustice right across the board and manifest more inclusive attitudes and overall awareness to make a stand against archaic and non-progressive approaches that we are currently laden with, and in turn to help make the world a better place for all.