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  • Writer's pictureAnna Grace Du Noyer

Amplifying Female Musicians: Where Are The Girl Bands and Fierce Futures Partnership

Introducing our new partners, Where are the Girl Bands - read our interview co-founder, Ella.

Fierce Futures has got some BIG news – we've partnered with a pioneering, female-led creative organisation, Where Are the Girl Bands - if you don't know their name, you will probably recognise their gorgeous illustrated graphics from their fantastic resources on Instagram.

Where Are The Girl Bands is ran by two incredible Liverpool women, Ella Fradgley and Eve Machin, who started this grassroots movement to shake up the music scene their home city and beyond. Tired of seeing talented women and non-binary creatives struggling to find their place in a scene dominated by the same demographic they took action and created a space where female and non-binary artists could connect, collaborate and support each other.

Ella and Eve are all about tearing down barriers to entry and giving everyone a chance to shine.

That's why we're thrilled to be working with them on some exciting projects in the coming months.

We're talking events, workshops, resources, blogs – and loads more.

And the best part? You can get involved too! We're launching a new initiative in April focused on women entering the music scene in Liverpool, and we want you to be a part of it. To express interest, just drop us an email at with the subject line Liverpool Music Scene. This will be free to join and dates, times and all the other essential info will be confirmed very soon!

Ella will also be bringing her expertise and passion for creating space for women in music, with a particular focus to supporting women who have experienced trauma, as our new guest editor.

Ahead of her debut blog, we caught up with Ella to hear all about Where are the Girl Bands, their their trauma-informed approach, and how you can get involved...

Interview with Ella Fradgley, co-founder of Where are the Girl Bands - and the talent behind their uber-cool illustrations that are so recognisable.

Ella, how did Where are the Girl Bands get started, and what inspired you to create this movement?

Where are the Girlbands was founded in 2018 by me and Eve Machin. At the time we were in a band and trying to understand where we fit as musicians within the local music scene. Having both been born and raised in Liverpool attending live music events we were shocked to realise that we couldn’t think of any musicians with a similar sound to ourselves, and worse still could name less than a handful of women in music within Merseyside. We started Where are the Girlbands with the aim of filling the gaps in our knowledge as we knew there must be an abundance of amazing women in music that we didn’t yet know, as well as a space for networking and discussion about barriers to access within the music industry.

How do you think Where are the Girl Bands is making a difference in the music industry, especially for women who face barriers to entry?

Where are the Girlbands is a space where you can find creatives to support/collaborate with, and a space for people’s experiences to be heard and platformed, both of which help support creatives and remove barriers to entry. We hope to be a ‘way-in’, opening the gates to helpful information, local resources and promotion. Getting that first foot in the door can be the hardest part, and we are dedicated to holding the door open and welcoming in as many people as possible. We have a cross-discipline approach, creating events, radio shows, online content, blog posts - whatever feels like the necessary medium to fill a gap within support for creatives. We listen to our community’s needs and do our best to meet them!

What are the most common experiences or barriers you have heard from your readers/followers/listeners? Or are they a broad range?

While the experiences of our audience are eclectic and individual to each person, there are definitely recurring themes within the stories we hear from the creatives we work with. I’d say the top 3 shared experiences that we have found are;

Barriers to access due to a lack of diversity - for many creatives in Liverpool, they find themselves to often be the only person that looks like them in the room. Liverpool’s music scene tends to be dominated by white, male, indie boy bands, meaning that entering music spaces as someone other than that descriptor can be very daunting, and often you aren’t invited in at all. It is hard to begin imagining yourself as a successful creative when there are very few examples to look up to. We need more diverse spaces that are genuinely inclusive from the stage to behind-the-scenes.

Gender-based discrimination while performing - we have heard all too many times the same micro-aggressions faced by women in the arts when performing. Whether it is intentional or not, the way women are spoken to and addressed in music spaces is often demeaning; from being assumed to be a girlfriend of a performer to having condescending remarks made by sound technicians or having your appearance critiqued by promoters, we have heard the same confidence-crushing experiences repeated almost word for word by many artists that we’ve worked with.

Sexual harassment/lack of safety in live music spaces - whether you are a performer or a gig-goer, sexual harassment is a very real fear when attending live-music spaces, especially with the rise in spiking in recent years. It seems many venues do not have clear policies in place for navigating situations of sexual harassment, staff are not properly trained or supported within the process of reporting and the often all-male security often add to the feeling of lack of safety.

Can you share some success stories or examples of women who have been helped by Where are the girl bands?

Of course! Honestly every day feels like a success for us when we see the community of fantastic creatives that has formed around Where are the Girlbands. We often receive messages from creatives we’ve worked with about how our platforming gave them a start into their chosen career and allowed them to step into their craft without fear of judgement as they knew our audience would embrace them. This is absolutely the aim of Where are the Girlbands, to make musicians feel seen, supported and confident in taking their next steps.

A cherished outcome of ours has been the collaborations born out of our events and programmes. Most recently Sophie Clarke and Hannah Keeley (two artists who partook in our ‘Speed-dating’ project in which we paired together creatives looking for new partnerships) have released their collaborative single ‘A Song For Us’. The single was written without meeting in person and in aid of the Liverpool Heartbeat Charity. For us this is clearly a sign that our projects are working in the ways we intended, blossoming new relationships between musicians.

What are some of the biggest challenges facing women in the music industry today? and what is Where are the girl bands doing to help address these challenges?

Some of the biggest challenges faced by women in the music industry today are hustle culture paired with the pressure of beauty standards. For all musicians there is a pressure to be an expert beyond their field, becoming managers, influencers, marketers and more. To be successful, many record labels require their musicians to have a certain audience on social media and this pressure trickles down to musicians at a grassroots level too. Not only is this incredibly time consuming (and not accessible for those with time-based commitments such as full-time work and caring responsibilities) but it can also be a real drain on mental health and only increase pressures around image. Since the dawn of the music industry, there have been expectations placed on women in music around how they should look, dress and appeal to their audience visually, and this only increases with the rise of social media and influencing. Musicians can no longer promote their music, they must also promote themselves as their own brand, something that can become dehumanising.

We aim to relieve some of these pressures by creating online promotional content on behalf of musicians, consulting with promoters/venues/organisations to ensure that the names of those just starting out in their careers are also heard and by creating helpful resources that give musicians access to support systems.

We know that trauma can have a significant impact on one's ability to pursue a career in creative industries including music.

Ella, you have experience working with young people who have experienced trauma - so we are super happy to have you on board as a partner - because, as you know, trauma is the main focus of our work.

How does Where are the girl bands take a trauma-informed approach, and can you offer any words of wisdom to women who have experienced trauma?

At Where are the Girlbands we ensure to have the guiding principles of trauma-informed care at the heart of all we do. From our posts to our events, we are always thinking about how to create an environment that is safe for those who have experienced trauma. For those who are new to the idea of trauma-informed care, I’ll quickly list below the 6 guiding principles we follow, and some of the ways we implement them!

1. Safety - safety is a key word within our organisation and something we really prioritise. At all of our events we have easily available safe space policies, allowing attendees and performers alike to have an understanding of how the space will operate and how they can seek support if needed throughout the event.

2. Trust - as an organisation we really promote transparency with our audience. Creating trauma-informed spaces is all about collaboration and listening, adapting services to meet needs and reducing harm. It is almost impossible to know the needs of those you are working with if you don’t open up room for conversation around what can be done to make them feel comfortable and be able to thrive. We are always changing our posts, language, events and policies in line with feedback.

3. Collaboration - our project is community-led which means that there is peer support throughout. In both our posts and our events we make room for discussing shared experiences and encourage those who have walked similar paths to support each others creative ventures. We know that as founders of the organisation we don’t share everyone’s lived experiences and can’t meet everyone’s needs, so peer support is incredibly important and is a part of everything we create.

4. Choice - we provide a variety of services and offer choice within how we provide support. At a basic level this looks like asking people what kind of promotion they would like to receive when they send us a press pack for a new release, and at a more in-depth level looks like having regular check-ins and in-depth conversations before, during and after an event to ensure a musician feels they have safety and control over the event they are partaking in.

5. Empowerment - both the discussion and the promotion based elements of Where are the Girlbands are centred around empowerment. We aim to validate the feelings and experiences of our audience, support creatives in their successes and acknowledge the barriers to access that people face.

6. Cultural consideration - Where are the Girlbands is focussed on gender-based discrimination, but we are aware of the intersectional nature of barriers to access for women in music. We are always incorporating policies that are reflective of both individual and community need, whilst also having specific signposting links and articles for individuals who are looking for support beyond our lived experiences.

What are your future plans for Where are the Girlbands, and how can people get involved or support your work?

The future of Where are the Girlbands is always open and evolving! If you want to get involved and share your ideas, creative work or experiences with us, you can message us on instagram @wherearethegirlbands or email

And of course, you can get involved in our first joint project to help women who want to enter the music scene in Liverpool. Just email to express interest about our free, April event.

Make sure you subscribe, too - so you are the first to hear about our exciting activities - this partnership is going to be fierce!

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Want to talk?

If something sexual happened to you without your consent – or you're not sure – you can talk to us. No matter when it happened.

Our 24/7 Rape & Sexual Abuse Support Line is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year:

📞 Call free on 0808 500 2222

💬 Visit the website to start a free online chat


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