Middlesbrough pub bans female-fronted bands as they “can’t sing rock”

Local music venue Doctor Browns has defended the move

A pub in Middlesbrough has controversially stopped female-fronted bands from performing after customers complained that women “can’t sing rock”.

The bizarre policy was enforced by local music venue Doctor Browns after gig-goers complained that “male rock songs” should not be attempted by female singers.

Defending the move, manager Paula Rees claimed that the venue risked losing customers if they didn’t listen to them – and denied it was sexist.


“We had female singers on in the past and customers just didn’t like it – we’re a rock bar and they don’t think that women should sing male rock songs”, she told the Northern Echo.


“It’s nothing to do with me, it’s the pub’s regulars who come in every week, they won’t come in if there’s a female singer.”

She added: “We have got to keep our regulars happy, I’m not a rock fan so can’t judge myself but I’ve been told that some women can sing and some can’t, but they can’t sing heavy rock.

“If we put a poster up and our regulars know there’s a woman in the band, they won’t give them a chance – they’re my bread and butter and we can’t risk nobody coming in.”

Ms Rees also confirmed that while the policy will be largely enforced, concessions could potentially be made for any female fronted bands that are guaranteed to draw a big crowd.


Commenting on the venue’s official Facebook page, one user wrote: “You need to tell your knuckle-headed clients to get a f***ing grip and change their mindsets or f**k off, rather than pander to their sexism.

“The only people who will be happy to be around twats like them are other people of the same ilk, and if you’re happy with that, then so be it. The better thing to do would be to court a different clientele.

“Any bands worth their salt will boycott this place, leaving you to have nothing but dicks playing to other dicks.”

 A spokeswoman for the Musicians’ Union added: “We have not been involved in this particular incident but we take discrimination on any grounds very seriously.

“For the purposes of booking shows, female-fronted bands should not be treated any differently to male-fronted bands, and neither should they be expected to identify themselves or their music according to their gender.”

Association Of Independent Music (AIM) have released a statement, saying: “AIM actively works to encourage diversity and equality in every area of the music business, whether that’s in the workplace, at industry conferences or on stage. Any exclusion based on gender is extremely disappointing; especially considering many of the World’s most successful and exciting performers are women. We encourage everyone involved in music to be committed to equality and positive change.”

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