First Timers Fest Returns For 2023!

We’re big fans of First Timers here at Get In Her Ears, so we’re thrilled to share the details of their upcoming gigs and workshops for 2023’s edition of the DIY festival!

All information and links to tickets can be found below.

Background Info

First Timers Fest are a London-based DIY community of musicians and activists who believe that having access to creating & playing music should not be a privilege, it should be a joyful and social experience that empowers everyone.

They encourage people from all walks of life – particularly those who identify as non-binary, LGBTQ+, disabled or female – to attend their workshops and gigs in order to experience and create music in a non-judgemental, low pressure environment. They aim to build people’s confidence, as well as forming a community of like-minded individuals who feel empowered to tackle the lack of diversity in larger music industry spheres.

Some of the bands who formed at First Timers and went on to release records and perform bigger shows include Big Joanie, Breakup Haircut, Bitch Hunt and Charmpit!

How To Sign Up For First Timer’s Fest 2023

First Timers is a two day festival where every band on the bill plays its first ever show! This years festival will take place on 28th May at The Victoria in Dalston.

The deadline to sign up to play is Sunday the 1st of March 2023. Sign up as an individual if you don’t yet have a band, or even if you’re just interested! You’ll be contacted closer to the time for further details.

Click here to sign up to play the festival!

IMPORTANT: To play in the fest, you need to be able to say yes to BOTH of these two statements:

1. One or more band members have never been in a band before OR one or more members has never performed that role in a band before (e.g if a drummer is having a go at vocals)

2. One or more band members belongs to one or more of these identity groups; a person of colour, a woman, LGBTQIA+, Jewish, people from Gypsy, traveller or Roma background, disabled- including non-visible, chronic health conditions and neurodiversity, working class, refugees and asylum seekers. (these identity groups aren’t exhaustive, let us know if we’ve missed any out)

Fundraiser Gig – 12th Feb, The Cavendish Arms

The team have organised a showcase featuring some of the bands that have formed at previous First Timers festivals and to raise some much needed funds!

The gig will take place on Sunday 12th February at The Cavendish Arms (SW8 2HJ). SKSIE, Melhole, Bulkwash and Gross Misconduct will all be performing. Tickets are £5.

Buy your ticket here!

First Timers Workshops – Feb-May 2023

If you’re keen to try out an instrument for the first time in a low pressure environment, then definitely consider attending one of the First Timers workshops listed on the poster below. We’ve attended them ourselves before, so we promise they’re fun and everyone is incredibly friendly!

This years workshops run from 19th Feb up until 7th May.

There are individual events on Facebook for each workshop that you can RSVP to by visiting the First Timers page here.

Individual workshops cost £5, however, the team don’t want anyone to feel excluded because of finances. Email dsflfirsttimers@gmail.com for information about concessions.

(FYI: the Stage Presence Wworkshop takes place on 16th April, not the 2nd!)

Follow First Timers Fest on TwitterFacebook & Instagram to keep up to date!

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

 

LIVE: Charmpit @ Sebright Arms, 08.07.2022

On Friday we had the absolute honour of hosting DIY legends Charmpit’s last ever London gig at Sebright Arms. With support from total faves Bitch Hunt and indie ‘tweecore’ outfit adults, it was truly a wonderful night – with so many familiar faces from the community coming together to celebrate a band who have been such an inspiration and joy for so many. And to sellout was a a total dream – huge thanks and big love to the three beautiful bands and to everyone who joined us for this memorable night filled with all the best vibes and bittersweet emotions!

Opening the night, Bitch Hunt deliver an empowering, cathartic set. Despite not having had the simplest of weeks (graduations, minor surgeries and struggles on public transport all contributing to stress levels), they radiate a blissful energy as each scuzzy punk-pop offering – reflecting on themes ranging from being non-binary and losing loved ones, to men who take up too much space – tugs at the heartstrings and fills the venue with a joyous sense of unity. Expressing their love of Charmpit and reflecting on memories of First Timers fest in between tracks, it’s a perfect start to what turns out to be a perfect night.

Next up, South London’s adults blast onto the stage with all the fuzzy energy you could ever desire. With both vocalists donning matching Charmpit ‘Anarchism Is For Lovers’ tees, and even treating us to a cover of the beloved headliners, they deliver half an hour of glistening, indie-pop perfection. Simultaneously oozing a lilting, uplifting scuzz with a poignant, angst-driven rage at the state of the world, each track twinkles with a sparkling drive as relatable lyrics about mutual aid and looking out for each other in hard times flow with heartfelt emotion alongside infectious, jangling hooks.

And then it’s Charmpit‘s turn to play their last ever London gig… Emotions run high in the packed out space as their sparkling charisma and vibrant energy instantly flow from the stage, filling the venue with an all-encompassing euphoric splendour. As they treat us to a set of career-spanning classic DIY anthems, it’s an utter joy to see the crowd dance, sing (and cry) together to this band who have meant so much to all of us over the years. From earlier colourful offerings such as ‘Buckfast My Heart’ and ‘Margot’ (who is now 7 and president of her Climate Society at school), to tracks from their latest (and last…) album Cause A Stir, each track oozes the band’s trademark shimmering, colourful zest and playfully quirky wit, whilst touching on stirring themes such as toxic relationships, true friendship and anarchy. Despite the sadness at this being the last time we will all be together in a room dancing to Charmpit, it’s a truly joyous occasion – celebrating all there is to love about this inspiring, adorable and innovative group whose uplifting bubblegum pop tunes have healed, helped and motivated so many. Having followed their career from the start, and with fond memories of them playing live for us at The Finsbury back in 2017, it’s a total honour to host this incredibly special event dedicated to these four wonderful humans who have played such a pivotal part in the London DIY community over the last decade.

What more can I say… Thank you to the three truly wonderful bands, to all who came out and – most importantly – thank you to CHARMPIT! We love you so much; thank you for all the music and the inspiration that will stay with us forever. It was a joy to host this event and to see so many lovely familiar faces!

Join us in a couple of weeks when we’ll be back at The Shacklewell Arms with total faves ARXX, with support from Fräulein and Lusa Morena – tickets selling fast, so make sure you get yours on DICE now! And then we will be at The Victoria on 12th August to dance the night away with Nikki & The Waves, BAXTR and Panic Pocket – you should also nab tickets for that soon too!

Words: Mari Lane / @marimindles
Photo Credit: David Harris / @chopstick68

LISTEN: GIHE on Soho Radio with Julia-Sophie 04.05.22

Tash & Kate were back on the Soho Radio airwaves playing loads of new music from some of their favourite female, non-binary and LGBTQ+ artists, and Mari offered some of her “musical musings” too.

Electronic artist Julia-Sophie joined them to talk about her latest EP it feels like thunder, and her anticipations for her Get In Her Ears headline show at The Shacklewell Arms on Thursday 1st June, with Maria Uzor and Dewey. Grab your tickets here.

Listen back below:

 

Tracklist
Sade – Your Love Is King
ESG – not my first (rodeo)
Anonhi x Hercules Love Affair – Poisonous Storytelling
Gazelle Twin – Hole In My Heart
Ethel Cain – American Teenager
Softcult – Uzumaki
Martha Rose and GRIP TIGHT – Never B Mine
Jelly Crystal & Seinabo Sey – I Tryyy
Tender – Control
Fears – Fabric
Fraulein – And I Go (La La)
Kills Birds – Cough Up Cherries
Amaroun – Orchid
Chelsea Carmichael – All We Know
Julia-Sophie – Dial Your Number
**Interview with Julia-Sophie**
Kraak & Smaak, Fred Nevché – Scirocco
Ultraista – Tin King
Shivum Sharma – Overload
Tomberlin – Sunstruck
Bitch – Hello Meadow
Ghum – Some People
Grawl!x – Hopelessness
Deep Tan – Rudy Ya Ya Ya
Breakup Haircut – Out Of My Way (I’m not getting on the night bus)
Noga Erez – End Of The Road

INTERVIEW: First Timers Fest

First Timers are a London-based DIY community of musicians and activists who believe that having access to creating & playing music should not be a privilege, it should be a joyful and social experience that empowers everyone. They encourage people from all walks of life – particularly those who identify as non-binary, LGBTQ+, disabled or female – to attend their workshops and gigs in order to experience and create music in a non-judgemental, low pressure environment. They aim to build people’s confidence, as well as forming a community of like-minded individuals who feel empowered to tackle the lack of diversity in larger music industry spheres.

Their next event, First Timers Fest, is happening this Sunday (8th May) at the Amersham Arms in New Cross. 14 newly formed bands will take to the stage for the first time to perform in front of a crowd, and we’ll be there cheering them on and witnessing this brand new talent!You can grab a ticket for the First Timers 2022 Showcase here: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/first-timers-fest-2022-tickets-309402048857

We spoke to Deena, Ishani, Sian and Ripley from the First Timers team about how the initiative began, what they’ve learned from being part of the team and what we can expect from this year’s showcase…

 

Hello folks! Please introduce yourselves and explain how you joined the First Timers team & what it is that you do…

At the moment the core First Timers organising team is Deena, Ishani, Sian and Ripley. None of us founded the fest – that was Bryony who now runs the Good Night Out campaign – and all of us got involved through playing it! Making the fest happen is a fairly big endeavor, and involves booking teachers and workshops, publicizing, finances, liaising with teachers and bands, and a million other little things that crop up.

It’s a lot of work, but it seems to be paying off. You’re a fantastic grass roots organisation and you do so much for the DIY music scene.

First Timers Fest itself was a big thing for us and got most of us into playing music! Also, its easier to be what you see, so seeing other London initiatives like Girls Rock London and Decolonize Fest flourishing is super inspiring.

They’re both great organisations too. What would you say are the highlights of being involved with organising First Timers Fest?

Jam on your hands is one of our favorite bits, even though its probably the most difficult thing to bring together and is always chaotic. It’s a workshop where people get to try out a bunch of instruments then learn a song then we play it all at the same time – so you have three drum kits and five basses and guitars and a tonne of people singing – it’s fantastic! Seeing people having fun at workshops and then telling us they never thought they’d be able to play an instrument and now love it is also amazing.

I attended your Bass Workshop with Jodi this year and I felt the same, it was such a fun day. Tell me about the other teachers and volunteers who are involved with the workshops. I know that Joni from Fraulein ran your guitar workshop and Chuck SJ taught songwriting this year. How do you connect with teachers and get them involved?

Our workshops this year have been really very good and luckily it’s been easy to find great people to run them. Sometimes we put call outs for teachers on our social media, sometimes we source them from the pool of people we’ve got to know over the years, or musicians we rate, or even people who have played the fest before! We love it when our teachers are First Timers at teaching too!

What are your anticipations for the First Timers 2022 showcase on Sunday 8th May? Tell us all about the bands on the bill…

It’s going to be fairly eclectic- it always is! Floralis is bringing us art pop influenced by goth rock and hip hop. Achers will be playing hardcore. A N T I A are putting harmonicas into grungy punk. Melhole are combining synths and ukelele, and there will be THREE kinds of hand percussion in ROAD. Many of the the main food groups really.

Because of Covid, for most of us this will be the first Fest we’ve organised from start to finish so we are just really excited to see them all up there!

I’m excited too! If someone was considering coming to a First Timers event, but felt a bit too nervous to get involved, what advice would you give to them?

We are all really very nice and we also all understand how scary it can be to take those first steps! Advice? Bring a friend, or reach out to us before you come.

And if a musician reading this is interested in volunteering for the next set of First Timers Fest workshops, what should they do?

Keep an eye out on social media as that’s where we tend to put out calls for artists, teachers, photographers, and other volunteers. Aside from Jam on your Hands, the workshops are paid for teachers, but the rest of us are volunteers. We are always needing more hands on deck with organising so do get in touch if you’re interested in getting involved – it’s good fun and very rewarding!

Finally, any bands or artists that you’ve been listening to recently that you’d like to recommend?

Here’s a link to every First Timers Fest band ever! 

Lots of them are still going. Breakup Haircut are playing their album release gig on the 22nd of July, Big Joanie are touring soon, Charmpit released an amazing album over lockdown, Bitch Hunt, Whitelands, Panic Pocket, Irn Brunette and Trouble Wanted have been playing live recently. If we’ve missed anyone out please do add your current stuff to the spreadsheet!

But we are equally as in awe of every band that played the fest the one time then dissolved or morphed or started other projects. We’re proud of them all!

Thanks to the First Timers team for answering our questions!

Follow First Timers Fest on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut