With International Women’s Day just around the corner, we’re putting a spotlight on the women at Collarts who are sharing their industry expertise and passion with our students. A music teacher and rock legend in her own right, Dallas Frasca champions music and the creation of accessible, independent avenues to experience it in a live setting. Recently sharing her announcement for A Hitch To The Sticks, the world-first three-day festival will take on the concept of the humble tour bus, connecting punters to live music venues and artists all across Victoria.
Personally guided by Frasca, the tour will head to six secret locations and four public events across Violet Town, Lima, Myrrhee, Tatong, Thoona, Wangaratta, and Moyhu; putting Dallas’ passion for the music community at the forefront of her ideas. Catching up with Dallas, we spoke to her about the festival and the industry’s changing attitudes towards equality and what it means to bring forward change in smaller communities.
Hi Dallas, thanks for chatting with me! I heard you’re putting on a world-first festival. Tell me about A Hitch To The Sticks—what’s your vision for it as its founder?
I was on the Vic Music Crawl last year that was run by Music Victoria. It was shining a spotlight on regional areas in Victoria that were doing well with their live music scene, and the theme for that weekend was All-Time. It included 25 industry peeps—band bookers, band managers, Australia music media and a couple of artists—and it saw some great venues and councils come together who were super active and supportive of their live music scene. I walked away from the weekend asking myself, what about the regional areas that aren’t doing that well? I had a lightning bolt moment, asking: what if I take the audience on the road with me?
I told my good mate Renee Delahunty about the idea and so A Hitch To The Sticks Music Festival was born. It’s like a reverse band tour where the audience comes on the road and the festival plays out around them—the idea is to go to areas that don’t normally put live music on. The seed we have planted will now create touring paths in regional areas, teach venues the value that live music can bring to their businesses, and nurture and develop local artists. Also, let’s be honest: who wouldn’t love to be on a party bus for three days, 10 events, over 20 musical acts, with celebrity hitchhikers and a whole of other fun stuff. You can read more about it here.
“Give a woman a fish, and you feed her for a day. Teach a woman to fish, and you feed her for a lifetime.”
DIY is a big part of your work and your record label, Spank Betty Records. How important is DIY to you and your music, and how did you first get involved in its communities?
We’ve always been fiercely independent at heart so it made sense to start our own record label. For us, we get to run things our own way and also help the bands we love by running events and working alongside them on their campaigns. We share knowledge and pass on industry skills so that the bands and artists can also do it for themselves! Give a woman a fish, and you feed her for a day. Teach a woman to fish, and you feed her for a lifetime.
“Finally, we are starting to see a conscious effort to level out the imbalance of female artists being represented on event and festival line-ups, and the industry supporting it.”
You’re incredibly passionate about rock and its sense of community, going to great lengths to reach out to fans. Over the years, how have you seen the industry grow and strengthen?
I’m excited that the last number of years, there has been a noticeable shift in the female representation within the music industry and that women are stepping up into roles that in the past have been occupied by men. Women have really cemented their place into the matrix of the Australian music industry across many job roles—promoters, publicists, managers, TM’s, street press editors, bookers—and I don’t think it’s going to slow down anytime soon. Finally, we are starting to see a conscious effort to level out the imbalance of female artists being represented on event and festival line-ups, and the industry supporting it.
Many women are often faced with skepticism and challenge in the music industry for simply being knowledgeable. However, conversations around these issues are starting to create change. What positive changes are you already seeing in the industry, and what are you hoping to see continue to change?
I think by all working together we can remove the stigma associated with being a woman in the music industry, and in turn, inspire other industries to follow suit. Us ladies are already getting the job done and done well, it’s just time to make sure everybody else knows. While others embrace gender equality, us ladies should embrace and understand the power of supporting each another, because when we do, we are stronger!
In all your projects, you have a fierce sense of independence and entrepreneurship. What advice would you offer to young women and GNC creatives who want to carve out their own path in the music industry?
Believe in yourself, work hard on your craft, work out what you want, educate yourself on how the industry works, reach out to mentors to help guide you when you’re lost, be resilient, don’t let anyone tell you can’t, and go and get it.
This International Women’s Day, what Australian artists will you be listening to?
Liv Cartledge, Nai Palm, Kerryn Fields, Tash Sultana, Mojo Juju, The Divinyls, Baby Animals, Sarah McCleod, Ella Hooper, Vika and Linda Bull, Deborah Conway, and Meg Mac.
Want to be connected to the industry? Check out our 2018 study options at Collarts and get hands-on through exclusive opportunities.