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 Mel Parsons 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. 

Indie-folk artist Mel Parsons returns triumphant with her fourth studio album ‘Glass Heart’. The
record follows 2015’s award-winning ‘Drylands’, which spent 51 weeks in the (IMNZ Album) charts.

Written across continents, Parsons started writing the record in Lyttelton, NZ in late 2017 and finished the last track in Los Angeles, via writing stints in far flung corners of North America - a cabin in a remote area of Washington State; rural Ohio; various locations throughout the Midwest and the far Eastern reaches of Canada’s maritime province Prince Edward Island.

Milk and Honey Festival is coming around fast and we are counting down the days! Exciting to see you on the lineup- where are you headed?

I'm playing at Sherwood in Queenstown, with Canadian artist Dana Sipos as the support act

Are you planning to debut any new songs at the show?

I have a new album just out (Glass Heart) so will be playing a lot of the new material from that.

We are huge fans of the album, and super excited to hear it live!

Why is International Womens Day important to you? Have you done anything to mark the day in previous years? 

On one hand it’s pretty tiring that we have to keep campaigning and bringing up women’s rights and the imbalance issue - however, until such time as there is true gender equality, the campaign needs to continue. There is a long line of strong, capable, feminist women running a long way back in my family, so gender equality has always been present in my life.

"We were the kids dressed in ‘Girls Can Do Anything’ tee-shirts and I have truly never doubted it."

That must be such a special memory for you! Events like this that bring females so powerfully to the forefront, are incredibly important for visibility in the live scene. 

Exactly. When young aspiring female artists see strong women ahead of them paving the way, they see it as absolutely possible.

Did you have any crucial musical heroes 'paving the way' like that growing up?

Absolutely. Tracy Chapman, Sinead O’Connor, Ani di Franco, Melissa Etheridge, Annie Lennox, Blondie - these artists were all musical heroes of mine growing up. They possibly shaped my career in that my writing is innately inspired by all of the music I listened to and loved during my formative years.

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

In May 2018 I’ll be touring NZ supporting The Proclaimers, and then later in the year will be my album release tour for ‘Glass Heart’. 

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


1. ‘Stay Outta My Business’ - Tami Neilson

2. ‘The Runner’ - Anna Coddington

3. ‘The Barrel’ - Aldous Harding

4. ‘Peach’ - Broods

5. ‘Same Ol’ Same Ol’ - The Sami Sisters

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