It’s been another incredible year for us all at Belles and Gals – it could be said that 2019 was the year that Belles and Gals got serious!
As always, one of the early highpoints of the year was our annual Belles and Gals awards (the BGAs) where we handed out awards to artists such Catherine McGrath, Remember Monday and Emma Jade, as well as to a host of fantastic US artists. January’s award would prove to be last version of the BGA’s – in early 2020 we’ll be handing out the first ever ‘British Country Music Spotlight Awards’. The new event is a real celebration of everything that is UK country and for the first time, male artists will be as equally able to win these awards as female artists!
The Country 2 Country Festival at the O2 in March, was, as ever, a real highlight for us all at Belles and Gals and it was amazing to see so many great artists grace these shores again, and it was incredible to interview the likes of Carly Pearce, Runaway June, Jade Helliwell, Morganway and Sarah Darling at the festival.
Throughout the year we’ve also interviewed some of the best artists in country music – Emma Stevens, The Luck, Clara Bond, Lauren Alaina, Jenny Tolman, Molly Tuttle, Lauren Jenkins, Ashley McBryde, Erin Enderlin, Temecula Road, Jenn Bostic and Laura Oakes to name but a few!
This year saw the launch of the first ever issue of the Belles and Gals magazine (second issue coming on the 29th January!). This great new magazine, is in addition to the website, and includes unique content aside from the website – what’s more, it’s completely free!
It’s been great to see the progress of the Belles and Gals affiliated in artists in 2019 – with Louise Parker, Hannah Paris, Becky Lawrence, Lucy Grubb, Emily Frith, Rosey Cale, Zoee and Máiréad all having wonderful years and long may that continue in 2020! Every single one of those artists either released new music in 2019 or has new music coming as we move into the new decade. We don’t need to do a ‘Ones to Watch’ article – there they are, right there!
Belles and Gals became a limited company in 2019 – I did say, this was the year we got serious! Alongside myself, we now have a management team comprising of Liam Lewis as our Director of Operations and Samantha Melrose as our Director of Communications – the formation of this team has seen a real move forward for the site with new ideas and a clear direction of what we want to achieve. A huge shout out to both Liam and Sam for their hard work this year.
I also need to give a shout out to the brilliant team. In Astrid Mjøen, Lesley Hastings, Laura Klonowski, Emily J Weall, Megan Roberts, Craig Brooks, Mel Osten and Honor Logan, we have a team that is dedicated, talented and simply love the genre. Belles and Gals is like a big family, and as well as being team mates, we’ve all become firm friends – I couldn’t have asked to work with a better group of people.
In 2019 Belles and Gals signed the Keychange Pledge, which is dedicated to equality in the country music genre -find full details here – https://keychange.eu/ Having signed the pledge, there is onus on us as a site to strive towards that equality, which will mean that while we will continue to focus on female country music artists in the genre, there will be more content from male country artists appearing on our social media, as well as more male artists appearing on our live gigs as we move into 2020.
I’d like to finish by wishing everyone an incredible new year and hope that the new decade will bring everything you wish for!
Managing Director of Belles and Gals