Thursday, 28 Feb 2019


International Women's Day is celebrated on March 8th every year, calling for a more gender balanced world, and celebration of women's rights. In New Zealand, 2018 marked 125 years of suffrage, and while we continue to lead the way for women's rights in many areas of life, our music industry - just like the rest of the world's - remains plagued by a deep and persistent gender imbalance.

We are unbelievably excited for the debut of the Milk and Honey festivala fresh new festival with majority female performers and crew. The festival will operate in 4 cities, across 6 venues, on International Women's Day, to shine a light on our talented women both on stage and behind the scenes. The team behind Milk and Honey festival are Lani Purkis and Teresa Patterson, both with rich histories in the music industry, inspired by improving female visibility. 

We chatted to Julia Deans about what it means to be a part of an event that celebrates female, female identifying, trans and non-binary musicians in our diverse industry. 


Photo by Mareea Vegas 

Having first come to the fore as the sassy and beguiling front woman for Fur Patrol at the turn of the century, the past decade has seen Julia Deans transition from iconic rock chick to glorious songbird. Deans’ first solo album Modern Fables was released to critical acclaim in 2010, earning her a swag of nominations for several coveted musical accolades including the Taite Music Prize, the APRA Silver Scroll (for "A New Dialogue") and Best Female Solo Artist and Best Pop Album at the NZ Music Awards. Deans’ new collection of songs We Light Fire sees her return to the song writing fore enriched with experience and full of purpose. The album was nominated for Best Album and Best Solo Artist at the 2018 NZ Music Awards. 

We are unbelievably excited for the Milk and Honey festival, which lands on International Women’s Day, March 8th. We are ecstatic to see you on the line up...

I’m at the powerstation with Tami Neilson, Nadia Reid, Ria Hall & Sandy Mills. For extra bonus points I also have the wonderful Anna Coddington joining my band!

Its always interesting for the audience to see something new- that will be amazing I'm sure!

Events like this that provide a powerful female platform are catalysts of changing attitudes in our industry. Why do you think it’s important for women to be on stage and prominent in a live setting? 

"Because it should be normal, not a novelty."

The more women are involved, the more women will feel encouraged to be involved, and any men who still buckle at the thought of working alongside women (or think we’re not up to the job) will just get used to it.

Not just on stage, but behind the scenes & in all areas. 

Did you have any female, female identifying, Trans, non-binary musical heroes growing up?

Annie Lennox was a big one for me – she was 100% powerful and 100% woman.

What’s next for you after Milk and Honey? Any other shows or releases we should keep a keen eye out for?

The band and I are playing in Hamner Springs the day after this, and I’m currently writing a new album, so watch this space!

Give us your top 5 anthems to play LOUD this International Womens Day

1. Would I Lie To You – Eurythmics

2. Cannonball – The Breeders

3. Your Teeth In My Neck – Kali Uchis

4. Shut Up Kiss Me – Angel Olsen

5. Long Snake Moan – Pj Harvey

JULIA DEANS on Spotify
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