On Wednesday 18 July, we joined the female-led London team for Women Walk Together, a global platform showcasing women in the event production industry. It was held on Mandela Day, the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela, in support of The Elders. Five countries came together in celebration, Brazil (Sao Paolo), Guinea (Boke), India (Bangalore), South Africa (Johannesburg) and the UK (London) and the international events were live streamed between each country.
The Elders are a group of independent global leaders, founded by Mandela, with the mandate to ‘support courage where there is fear, foster agreement where there is conflict, and inspire hope where there is despair.’
‘Freedom cannot be achieved until women have been emancipated from all forms of oppression’, Nelson Mandela 1918 – 2013
There were three events held in the UK, across three venues, 100 Club in London, The New Adelphi Club in Hull and Pop Recs in Sunderland. The London event, hosted by the 100 Club, saw a Q&A with a panel of women from the events industry and an appearance and performance by female-fronted Ørmstons.
Women Walk Together had backing from the Elders, the United Nations Association of Westminster, Kin of Kush (lead by Kofi Anna’s daughter in law), Four Corners of the World and Youth Production Network.
One of the organisers, Sybil Bell, founder of Independent Venue Week and Can You Cic It, told me that she had just returned from the launch of Independent Venue Week in New York and the team were still buzzing. Can you Cic It were the UK partners for the Women Walk Together event in London. They run the Yes She Can initiative, in partnership with Marshall Amps, which comprises of workshops supporting young women to learn about the event production industry. Jo Hartle who was also part of the Women Walk Together team has spent the last 20 years in the industry working in tour management and lighting design, and was running the logistics for the London event.
Whilst we were there we went back stage and had a quick chat with Ørmstons from Leeds. They told me that their biggest success was their single Mexico City. The 100 Club was their third gig in London and it was refreshing to hear them say the words ‘you don’t need London to succeed.’ Frontwoman Jess told us that she wears the trousers in the band – if she doesn’t like a track they are putting together, they don’t use it. When it was time for Ørmstons to perform, Jess burst into life on stage, leading the band, and we hope to see them play again soon.