Female musicians take centre stage in Launceston

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When She Believes shows putting the spotlight on women musicians at this year's Junction Arts

female-musicians-take-centre-stage-in-launceston photo 1 Photo: (L-R) Denni Sulzberger, Sarah Triffit and Tiarni Cane are excited to be presenting at the festival. (ABC News: Timothy Morgan)

A little less than two years ago, Launceston's The Royal Oak hotel reached out to one of the city's local artists.

The hotel wanted to put together an evening of solely female musicians, and Sarah Triffitt was the person it wanted pulling the strings.

"I was approached by management at the Oak about trying to get more female musicians into the venue and also as punters," Triffitt said.

"Instantly I was like: 'Yes. Please let me do this', I came up with the name and booked the first show and away we go."

The show was When She Believes and its first night back in October 2015 packed out the Oak's public bar to see the performers, some of whom were Triffett's friends called on as a favour.

"Not purposely to be guinea pigs, but [I said] 'Come and play this show, we're going to do this and it's going to be amazing', and all the people came and it was amazing," she said.

It did not take long for When She Believes to outgrow its original venue, and in the months since has played in several pubs across Launceston.

The focus has always been on showcasing female artists and creating an intimate and respectful relationship between the audience and performers.

"I'm quite happy to tell people to shut up and go outside and I've had to do that in the past," Triffitt said.

"I've had management do it once or twice for me as well as at a couple of venues that we've played, which is really great to have that support form management. They totally understand the concept and what it's about."

female-musicians-take-centre-stage-in-launceston photo 2 Photo: Tiarni Cane says the When She Believes audiences are there for the music. (Supplied: When She Believes)

Indie folk artist Tiarni Cane said it had been the perfect environment for her to develop as a solo female artist.

"I feel like it was almost harder to be taken seriously (as a woman), it's not necessarily hard to get the start, but it's harder just to feel as if what you're doing is as respected as what, maybe, some other musicians are doing," Cane said.

"We've done a lot of gigs where you're up on stage and the people that are in the venue aren't necessarily there for your story or for the music.

"[At] When She Believes you can hear a pin drop when you're there and the only thing you can hear is the foldback and the sound of your music coming back at you.

"It's really flattering, and humbling and it's pretty terrifying to be honest, because there is no hiding in that environment,

"But I am so grateful to be able to have the chance to play multiple times for When She Believes and just feel that support from everyone."

Cane, along with fellow Launceston artist Denni Sulzberger, both played in the first gig at The Royal Oak.

female-musicians-take-centre-stage-in-launceston photo 3 Photo: Denni Sulzberger says the shows have afforded more respect to female performers. (Supplied: When She Believes)

Almost two years on and the pair will feature in When She Believes biggest show so far— Launceston's Junction Arts Festival.

Sulzberger said she had noticed attitudes shift in the local music scene over the past two years.

"Just the fact that it's creating more opportunity at the very, very base point, it's not saying we want 50 per cent of musicians in Launceston to be female, we don't care," said Sulzberger.

"It's just giving the opportunity, because woman can be scared to go to a pub, especially if you're by yourself, to go to a pub and do a performance.

"I feel a lot more respected going into venues, like when I go to play I get asked to do a lot more… but then again it may just be because I've been given the opportunity to get out there."

For curator, Triffitt, it is a social message of gender equality, which has played a large part in When She Believes' success.

"It resonates obviously with a massive part of the community that also feels that way and they support us because they want to see more quality as well, not just for music that's our thing, but it resonates with a lot of different areas of the community for what it represents as far as bridging the gap."

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Article Female musicians take centre stage in Launceston compiled by www.abc.net.au