Female Musicians Unite! | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Female Musicians Unite!

What's Bend's music scene really like for women? We asked some of them to weigh in.

What I gathered from this "study," as we'll call it: We have some super passionate, talented and integrated women in the Central Oregon community who truly care about all musicians in this town. For this article we're talkin' about girl power and putting a microscope on what it's really like to be a female musician in Bend.

click to enlarge Female Musicians Unite!
Whitney Houston
“There’s no doubt there's a thriving music scene here in Bend,” said Shaene Marie Pascal.

What inspired me to do so was getting to work and connect with local music booker, Amy Bathen — who is a Mom, rock-star and huge advocate for what's unique in the current local music scene. Aside from being such a hard-working woman in the music community, she still finds the time to jam and play drums and guitar with her husband in their band, The Bangers, who have been playing together for the last eight years. They are also members of "sludge folk" band, SAMARAS.

"Like many things in Bend, there are parts of the music scene that have catered to the tourism industry and not the locals," stated Bathen. "Venues that are booking music need to be aware of their representation and strive to include a diverse range of performers across all genders and races. I have had the honor to meet some really wonderful artists, bookers, sound engineers and music enthusiasts that are working hard to make it something great here."

As Bathen points out, Bend's local music scene is rapidly changing and attracting more mainstream audiences. (Hello Hayden Homes Amphitheater!) But in order to thrive as a bonded and creative musical community year-round, there needs to be an emphasis — from venues, booking agents and promoters — on female artists.

"Showcasing us is a good place to start," stated Amy Anderson, bassist for HELGA. "For those of us who choose to be mothers, it can be difficult to take on the role of performer. We wear so many 'hats' that our creative one tends to sit on the shelf while prioritize raising good kids, as that is a difficult and full-time job. I know for me, I had to wait until my kids were old enough to watch themselves before I could participate in a band. I would be curious to know if dads in bands feel like they have to delay pursuing their passion until the timing is right for the kids and family. Free babysitting service for performing moms?"

click to enlarge Female Musicians Unite!
Eilish Young
Amy Anderson from HELGA playing live at Spoken Moto.

Meanwhile, 15-year-old singer-songwriter Jaymi Vision claimed, "Given that I'm 15 years old, I've felt overlooked or underestimated when it comes to playing a full gig. Although I think I've proved countless people wrong after I play, I can tell when locals and people passing by are skeptical of if I'm capable in that sense." Vision began performing at age 11 at Cascade School of Music and has really grown up in Bend's music community. "Everyone is very supporting of each other and helps advertise for shows as well as even sharing equipment," she says.

Indie folk-rock guitarist Shaena Smith-Jackson told the Source Weekly, "There's no doubt there's a thriving music scene here in Bend. It's been one of my favorite things about Bend since I was a kid. Most of the people here are just stoked on good music, and that's all that really matters.

"Neither myself or the members in my band are in music for the money necessarily, but it's important to me to be able to pay my musicians for their time and hard work. I'd love to see some of the really popular venues here in town pay their musicians a little more per show, especially if the bands are drawing bigger crowds."

Guitarist and solo artist Kelcey Lassen proposes, "It would be amazing to have a female-only open mic — I think more females would feel more comfortable starting in a women-specific/non-binary space. If we can make more space indoors at venues where music is hosted regularly, it would be much appreciated."

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