On the event page for Show Mom Fest 2, the information section is surprisingly sparse. Each band is listed (as is its website) followed by the venue address and the time doors open. The only text that isn’t bare-bone fact comes at the very bottom. The first, next to the sliding scale ticket price ($10-15): “look at all the people on the bill that need $$$” The second, on the very bottom in all caps: “BE RESPECTFUL OR BE GONE”.
Above all else, Show Mom Collective puts respect and equality at the top of its totem pole when organizing shows. The two-person booking group—comprised of Jasmine Taibi and Rose Parry—formed two years ago when they found themselves booking show after show in the Boston area. When things got out of hand, they were often the first to step up. Acts or words of racism, sexism, ageism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, and beyond were never tolerated. Given they looked out for their guests in an effort to make each space as safe as possible, the moniker seemed like a natural fit.
Their first festival, Show Mom Fest, came as a result of a female-fronted bill that grew into a roll call too large for a regular evening’s show. The second edition of the festival, this Sunday’s Show Mom Fest 2, brings an even more diverse and enticing lineup to Out of the Blue Too Art Gallery: Palm, Banned Books, Beth Israel, Personality Girls, URSULA, Jonah Furman (of Krill), Strange Mangers, Sun Young, People Like You, Stumpf, YrrapYrrap, Candy Miami, DUMP HIM, and Michi (of People Like You).
“We definitely booked way more acts than we planned, but, as bookers, we have a hard time saying no to people because we love everyone who is currently on the bill,” laughs Taibi. “We are huge fans of Palm and Banned Books, of course. URSULA is hands down our favorite band in Boston. YrrapYrrap is also a huge favorite of ours; she has never performed the same set twice!”
Don’t misread their eagerness. Taibi and co. aren’t pushovers; they’re architects who figure out how to make oddly shaped pieces, ones that are otherwise easy to set aside, fit into a single puzzle. When they shift the weight of their booking spotlight, they choose to highlight artists denied stage time for a variety of reasons. “We would like bookers to be more conscious when booking more diverse bills,” she admits. “There’s a focus on the same bands usually.” Show Mom Fest 2 brings newcomers like DUMP HIM and Stumpf out of Allston basements and onto a properly lit stage. Bands don’t need a label. Bands don’t need a PR team. Bands don’t need a hyped-up cult following. In the eyes of Taibi and Parry, the passion and message of a band speaks far louder than social media stats. The festival shines with its own DIY glitter as a result, and while getting varied genres to flow seamlessly from set to set isn’t easy, they somehow pull it off.
Show Mom Collective is extremely committed to its audience. “It goes without saying that we expect the utmost respect from anyone involved with our events for the space, things, and people in it.,” explains Taibi. “People who come to shows are what keep this community thriving. Without paying showgoers, we wouldn’t be able to pay bands a reasonable ‘wage,’ and we want to make sure that people who come to our show feel safe and welcome. Everyone pays the same amount to see a band, and there is no reason anyone should feel unsafe in a space that works hard to feel inclusive. We try to hold people accountable who disturb ”
When you’re enforcing rules, those who disrupt them have a hard time being put in their place; when you’re a group of young women calling the shots, the chances of others trying to tell you off are, at the bare minimum, doubled. “Show Mom was a term used in a not so nice way by a local band about a year ago,” Taibi says. “As female show bookers, we often find ourselves spoken to in a condescending or misogynistic tone, though we are beyond capable event planners, promoters, and hosts. It’s an unfortunate part of being a female involved in most music scenes. So we turned Show Mom into a compliment.”
Considering all the hard work, much of which goes unnoticed, mothers do, their moniker is a coy nod to their own modest persistence. Show Mom Collective looks out for you, only this time your mom has way better taste in music than you do. The second edition of their fest is evidence enough.
SHOW MOM FEST 2. SUN 11.29. OUT OF THE BLUE GALLERY, 541 MASS. AVE., CAMBRIDGE. 6:30PM/ALL AGES/$10-15. FACEBOOK.COM/SHOWMOMCOLLECTIVE.