It should surprise no one to hear that right now in the alternative music scene there are issues that need to be addressed. These issues range from a lack of female fronted bands and representation for them, to allowing alleged abusers to perform at Warped Tour, as well as blatant disrespect for each other as members of the same music community.
In all likelihood, everyone who is reading this has a favorite musician or group of musicians that they look up to or even idolize. For every popular artist, there can be hundreds, thousands, or even more fans who feel a sense of loyalty to that artist. This loyalty means that these musicians are given a massive platform that enables them to be incredibly influential to countless people.
With this being the case, we must wonder why more musicians in the scene are not doing more to prevent discriminatory, abusive, and otherwise harmful behaviors from happening. Musicians in the alternative world sometimes play at venues filled with hundreds of people from all over the world. They are performing for impressionable young fans that are the future of this scene, and there ought to be a sense of responsibility that goes along with that privilege.
Anyone – including musicians and fans – who loves the music scene they are a part of should take any and all opportunities to do what they can to keep the scene healthy and thriving. To do this, we need to start having the right conversations. These situations need to be discussed at shows, online, and in person. The first step to making a positive change is creating awareness that a problem exists in the first place, and that awareness only comes from having honest, open conversations.
Popular musicians are in a unique position to create these conversations. There are musicians who are aware of some of these issues, but are reluctant to speak up about them. That has to change.
Ignoring a problem because of a feared financial or fan-base loss helps no one. The safety and well-being of everyone in the scene has to be the priority. Everyone with a microphone has the power to make a difference – female musicians should make a point to encourage young girls with musical aspirations to pick up a guitar and/or start a band.
Warped Tour and similar tours/festivals need to make the safety of its attendees a bigger concern. Personal attacks and petty insults on the internet need to stop. There’s nothing cool about being mean to other people. Listen to one another and show empathy. Everyone who loves the alternative music scene has power to do better, and to work towards fixing it.
This music scene is smaller than it might seem. I for one happen to like the alt scene a lot, as I enjoy going to concerts and Warped Tour. As such, I want the scene to stick around. I feel like this music scene is more of a large community, and most people should want to protect their community.
So let’s protect this one and change the things that need to be changed.