A Week In The Life Of… Rachel Maria Cox, Manager and Founder of Sad Grrrls Club

Grrrls step to the front! This week we are delving into the work life of Rachel Maria Cox, who is actively doing their part to promote diversity, inclusivity and safety within the Australian music industry.

In between juggling a full-time job as an administrator and teacher at a music academy, pursuing a career in singer song-writing and acting as a spokesperson for non-binary individuals in the music industry, Rachel impressively finds the time to manage their own record label and booking agency Sad Grrrls Club as well as running the annual “Sad Grrrls Fest”.

Incorporating inspiration from the feminist collective Sad Girls Y Que and the Riot Grrrl movement, Rachel founded Sad Grrls Club to address the issue of male domination, sexism and exclusivity in the music industry, after noticing early on in their music career how frequently they were the only non-male act on a lopsided bill. The label aims to promote gender diversity through putting out music and putting on shows that are inclusive to all.

A celebration of this diversity and an opportunity to shake things up and enact change exists once a year through “Sad Girls Fest”, a festival that shines the spotlight on fantastic acts with at least one non-male member, including female, non-binary, gender fluid and transgender performers.

Last year saw Moaning Lisa, Huntly, Antonia & The Lazy Susans and Rachel Maria Cox them-self as headliners. Reaching beyond gender inclusion, the festival also creates a safe and supportive space for all by holding zero tolerance for racism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism and discrimination. You can catch Rachel as both a performer and a conference speaker at this year’s BigSound festival in Brisbane in September.

A job description in your own words

Managing Sad Grrrls Club is a bit of a side project at the moment, but my job involves trying to find opportunities to collaborate with event organisers and venues to have music at their events, booking artists for these events, promoting, invoicing and managing the money around these events and really whatever else is called for.

Because it’s done on the side of my day job and alongside trying to create my own music career, there’s a lot of trying to take things on the fly and working on the go, which is something that I both like and dislike about the job.

Weekly journal

This week, I’ve got two things on my plate for Sad Grrrls Club. This year I’m working on a project called “Not Just Grrrls” which is smaller scale events as part of larger events. I’ve got a Not Just Grrrls Stage happening at Darby Street Live – Winter Unplugged in Newcastle on Saturday, so on Wednesday I confirm my artists again and schedule a few social media posts. 

Saturday is spent taking the PA to the venue, setting up and doing sound, as well as getting my invoice ready for the Monday following the gig. 

I’m also booking a stage for a mini-festival in Melbourne in November, so I do some emailing back and forth with artists and artist managers trying to secure a few more bands for that. I also go back and forth a bit with the event organiser so we’re on the same page about who we’re booking and budget. 
I also take about half an hour on Tuesday to rebuild the Sad Grrrls Club Website a bit, and on Friday I also make a shortlist of artists I want to see at BigSound this year to potentially talk to about playing Sad Grrrls Fest Next year.

All of this has to happen between working a full-time job as an administrator and teacher at a music school, as well as working with my band to get ready to play a gig on Saturday night, rehearse and prepare for recording the following week.

Challenges and accomplishments in your week

The challenge of my week is always finding small chunks of time to work on Sad Grrrls Club to keep things ticking forward. It’s so easy to get through a week and find I’ve done nothing for SGC because I’ve been focused on work, or band stuff. The accomplishment this week was doing something I haven’t found time to do in ages, which is fix up the website.

Highlights of the week (pros of the job)

Pros of the job are getting to see live music by amazing people. Having a Not Just Grrrls Event this week was a definite highlight as going to the events is seeing the payoff of all the hard work.

Lowlights of the week (cons of the job)

Definitely trying to motivate to keep working on something which sometimes feels like a very expensive hobby. Finding time is probably the hardest thing but finding money is probably the other biggest struggle I have with the business. I’m really fortunate that the festival the last few years turned a small profit which allows me to keep doing this.

Words of wisdom for people considering a job in your field

Break things down into 20-30 minute tasks. If you’re working any kind of ‘side hustle’ this is key to making sure you keep things moving without overwhelming yourself. Know why you’re doing it. It can be really easy to lose motivation so having things like small events remind me why I love this work and why I keep doing it.

Learn from everything you do and have a long-term plan. At the moment my plan is looking into 2019 and 2020 so I’m preparing things now to work towards my goals for the next few years.

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