Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wizard Rock and Women

Lauren Fairweather, a famous wrock artist.
This was written for a class called Gender and Fandom.

Wizard rock (often shortened to wrock) is a genre of music produced by Harry Potter fans dealing with themes, characters, and events from the bestselling series.

Wrock was first performed in Boston, Massachusetts in 2002. When the backyard rock show that Joe DeGeorge was organizing fell apart, Joe and his brother Paul dubbed themselves Harry and the Potters and performed a few quickly-penned songs about the popular book series. The brothers received so much positive feedback that they continued to perform as Harry and the Potters, releasing a self-titled album in April 2003. By 2005, many other wrock bands had been formed, making wizard rock a veritable movement of Harry Potter fans dedicated to preserving the books’ message in song.

The term wizard rock was first used in the liner notes of Harry and the Potter’s fourth EP, Enchanted Ceiling, which was released shortly before the seventh and final installment of the series came out in July 2007. It is a neutral term that is used by hardcore wrock addicts and non-fans alike.

People behind the scenes of wrock – organizers of wrock performances, volunteers staffing Harry Potter conferences, and so on – tend to be women and girls. Matt Maggiacomo, the lead singer of prominent wrock band the Whomping Willows, estimated that 85-90% of concertgoers are women and girls. Despite (or perhaps because of) the female-driven fan base, males tend to dominate the most popular wrock bands; a solely female-fronted wrock headline tour did not occur until 2008, six years after wizard rock’s inception. Male-led wrock bands tend to book more convention performances and are more well-known. Although there is a gender imbalance in wrock performers, it is a significantly narrower gender gap than in the mainstream music industry. Considering there is so much equal rights activism that gets its inspiration from the Harry Potter series, it's not surprising that  the wrock community is more women-friendly.

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