In Conversation With Izzy Hobbs

The Belgrave will open its doors on Friday 19 November for a special event by Girls Can Play Guitar and Come Play With Me.

Girls Can Play Guitar’s founder Izzy, originally moved to Leeds and studied pop music at Leeds’ conservatoire. Whilst also playing guitar in various groups, she found her feet by putting on events with friends under a company called Groovy Shoes, known for putting on “funny, silly drag nights” at Wharf Chambers.

Izzy in Action

When talking to Izzy about how GCPG came about, she says she “wanted to do for a while and the inspiration behind the name comes from comments from people’s reactions when expressing I played guitar”. Izzy wanted to put on events to push female artists. “It’s not about making it 100% female or marginalized genders; it’s about making it more equal”. Expanding on her point, she goes on to emphasize tackling the imbalance of female musicians in the industry. Not just instrumentalists – it includes sound engineers, people working behind the scenes; it’s made to actively reduce the gap in the industry.

The event, which is funded by Come Play With Me, is going to be a night of Funk, Jazz, and Neo-Soul music. It’ll be a great night for people who haven’t been to a gig in a long time and want a reintroduction to that environment. “It’ll be chilled out but still with music that can get you up and dance,” Izzy says, before giving us a glimpse into who is performing… “The artists are absolutely fantastic. This show will be Yazmina Nahas‘ project The Sunkissed Child‘s first gig, a stripped back set, followed by Heju, who has such an intimate and tender feel to their music, they’re really great storytellers” and finishing off the night, Laura Kindelan.

Come Play With Me, based in Leeds, helps people who wouldn’t normally have the funds to put on a show. Izzy states that “Belgrave was my choice of venue, and the people at Come Play With Me put a lot of trust in me with this event, My previous venues have been Wharf Chambers and Hyde Park Book Club, and my thoughts going into this was let’s book Belgrave and make it work. I have been desperate to put a show on there”.

When asked about what makes this event special for Girls Can Play Guitar it was very obvious that Izzy has a real investment in who she books. “I’m really looking forward to the artists having the chance to play Belgrave. I want it to be a great environment for them, and from an audience perspective, it would be lovely to inspire people who want to get into music. I want them to see people on stage and realize there is a place for women in the industry. If people are not used to seeing women in music, it shows there’s still a lot of work that needs doing. Funding is being cut in schools more and more each year, so we need to appeal to that younger audience who don’t have music lessons or exposure to free lessons. We need to push it to the point that one day we are on an even playing field.”

From talking with Izzy AKA Girls Can Play Guitar, it’s inspiring to see people out there, pushing for change and creating the spaces for people to be a part of that who would otherwise be missing out. Catch me there on the front row, at Belgrave on Friday 19th November.

Tickets are £5 in advance here – or you can grab one on the door!

Charlotte Staunton Gill

Charlotte writes on a wide range of music genres. She has experience of artist development, having built on her knowledge and expanded her industry connections at Universal Music Group.

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