The popular music venue Doctor Brown's in Middlesbrough, England is facing backlash for refusing to book female-fronted rock bands. The pub manager Paula Rees told the Northern Echo the rule isn't meant to be sexist, but her customers simply don't connect with female rock musicians.
"We had female singers on in the past and customers just didn’t like it - we’re a rock bar and they don’t think that women should sing male rock songs," Rees said. "It’s nothing to do with me, it’s the pub’s regulars who come in every week, they won’t come in if there’s a female singer."
So, it appears the sexism in question is more attributed to the bar regulars than the management itself.
While the booking policy is passively exclusionary at best and discriminatory at worst, Rees claims the bottom line is the customer. And since her customers don't believe women can play rock music, she's not going to push it.
"We have got to keep our regulars happy, I’m not a rock fan so can’t judge myself but I’ve been told that some women can sing and some can’t, but they can’t sing heavy rock. If we put a poster up and our regulars know there’s a woman in the band, they won’t give them a chance - they’re my bread and butter and we can’t risk nobody coming in."
Unsurprisingly, people on Twitter weren't too fond of the booking policy.
While others in the music scene felt bummed at the coverage of such a negative policy, when so many good bands go without press.
This is a fair critique, it's unfortunate the newscycle prioritizes backlash over art.
While Doctor Brown's keeps talented female musicians off their stage, the rest of us will be enjoying the sweet aural fruits that so many woman musicians have to offer.