It is a truth universally acknowledged that any woman in the music industry who wishes to make it big must work twice as hard as her male counterparts.
In France, Les Femmes S’en Mêlent is an annual festival that showcases and celebrates the female talent that exists in the independent music scene. Roughly translated, it means ‘Women Meddle In It’, an ironic take on the patriarchal stereotype that women stick their nose into everything. And we do, but it doesn’t mean we don’t have something valuable to offer by doing so.
The festival was set up on 8th March 1997 in Paris by Stéphane Amiel to celebrate International Women’s Day. From one small event in Paris, the festival grew over the years to be able to put on several events all around France. Over the years, Les Femmes S’en Mêlent has seen performances from the likes of Kim Gordon (twice), Cat Power, Regina Spektor, M.I.A, Martha Wainwright, The Slits, and Christine and the Queens, among many more homegrown French acts.
Stéphane Amiel explains the festival as “faced resolutely towards the future”, explaining that “it will always remain a place of meetings, of savage and generous freedom, that doesn’t speak for the artists but gives them the space to do so for themselves.” In short, “it offers a special type of space where diversity, eclecticism and innovation can be expressed.”
This year, Les Femmes S’en Mêlent will run from 8th March to 5th April. As well as the festival in Paris 16th-17th March, there will be events up and down the country so that no matter where you are, you too can meddle in it.
Headlining the Friday night in Paris is Virginie Despentes, one of France’s most outspoken and groundbreaking authors. She will be doing a reading from Louis Calaferte’s The Requiem of the Innocent, accompanied by rock group Zero. Over the weekend, Dream Wife, Pink Kink, Léonie Pernet and Blimes Brixton will play.
As far as International Women’s Day celebrations go, you could do worse than moshing along to some badass lady bands in a sweaty venue somewhere in Paris.
Images courtesy of Ephelide Agence de Presse
Check the website here for the full range of events going on around France.
Buy your tickets here