HOWDY GALS Howdy Gals were founded in December of 2017. They book shows with multiple venues in the Austin area. I had a chance to chat with Kelly Ngo, Co-founder, about what Howdy Gals is all about! HEM: What was the inspiration for starting Howdy Gals? Kelly Ngo: Bel & I started Howdy Gals because we’re both super passionate about music. I think we go to shows multiple days a week if we have the time. At first we didn’t really know what Howdy Gals would be, we thought maybe booking and production, but once we started in January we got a flood of dates to book and bands wanting to book us, so that’s what we’ve been focusing on so far. And now it’s blossomed into a booking company with five hardworking and talented gals who book with multiple venues around Austin. We like to call ourselves the professional partiers because we have fun yet we get our stuff done. HEM: What is the process of booking shows like? Can it be difficult? Kelly: We reach out to venues asking if they have dates open, and if they give us a date, we start trying to pick bands in the same genres to fill the bill. Our bookers are all into different types of music and all typically book at different venues so it’s really great to have such a diverse team. Our tasks typically include emailing a lot, updating spreadsheets, and lots and lots of constant communication. It’s a constant thing, sometimes you’ll book a show and a band drops or set times have to be changed to accommodate a band. It’s a lot to keep track of, but on the day of show, it’s a great feeling to be able to just hang out and see your event come to life. Although sometimes people don’t show up and so you frantically post on social media trying to get people to come out, and keep counting heads to see if you’ve made the room fee. But it’s worth it to see the bands you love and seeing other people enjoy their music too! It’s great bringing people together. HEM: Have you experienced challenges as women in the industry? What about positives? Kelly: Definitely- some people don’t take us seriously. They think we don’t know what we’re doing or are groupies. I started off as a music photographer in the industry and even then people would never take me seriously. The music scene is full of men, but we’re trying to make an impact and show others that a badass booking gang can consist of women, and I think we’re doing a pretty good job so far. HEM: What can we expect from Howdy Gals in the near future? What is the dream goal? Kelly: We’re hoping to have a festival soon, maybe with different venues where all of us can book our favorite bands/genres! We just want to continue doing what we love, and maybe eventually make some sort of change in our local music scene. A dream goal would be that more people come out to our shows- even though Austin is the live music capital of the world, a lot of people still don’t come to local shows, and I think that’s so unfortunate because there is SO much talent here. It’s hard though
because our music scene is so oversaturated. But we only book bands that we love- so I hope people come out more and will enjoy the local music scene with us. HEM: Do you have any advice for women who are interested in pursuing the industry? Kelly: Never let anyone tell you that it’s too hard because it’s a male-dominated industry. If it’s something you’re passionate about and can’t stay away from, you will find a way to make it work for you. If women keep shying away from industries because they are maledominated, that will never change. I say just pursue your bliss and everything else will follow with hard work and perseverance. HEM: What is something the average person can do to help advocate for women in the industry? How can they help? Kelly: I think you can start off by just supporting them. Come to their shows, tell others about their work, just start by showing up for the women in the industry. Something as simple as that will help support them. HEM: Finally, what are your thoughts on the #MeToo and #TimesUp campaigns? Kelly: I think they’re important and empowering. I believe that most, if not all, women have a story of sexual harassment or discrimination whether they choose to share it or not. I think it’s awesome that powerful women who have a platform are choosing to speak out and expose those who have wronged them. Howdy Gals takes these issues to heart - we try to keep our shows and music scene a safe space. We don’t associate or work with any bands or venues whose members we consider to be troublesome. For more information, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their Facebook page at @HowdyGals. Photos courtesy of: Boss Babes ATX, Girls BTRS, and Howdy Gals
The Girl Power Issue. Featuring The Aces.