Bedford mum who taught herself to DJ in lockdown takes part in IWD Herd takeover

Self-taught DJ, Rachel Sutton will be among 20 female artists, DJ’s, singers and poets from Bedford who are taking over Herd on St Cuthbert’s Street on Sunday (6 March) to celebrate women in culture for International Women’s Day (8 March).

The event will feature an art exhibition and sale, women DJs as well as singers and spoken word poetry.

Herd will be serving their traditional – and legendary – Sunday lunch from 12-4pm, with the event running until 9pm.

Jess Wolton, owner at Herd, said. “It was noticeable that there was a real male bias to our big nights.

“To redress the balance, I hosted a night ‘Parity’ dedicated to quality female DJs. With credible London female DJs playing all night I was fortunate to have DJ TuneSmith, Soxee, Tashizm and Miss KG play.

“The Parity event was a brilliant success with all of the women playing to a full house. With International Women’s Day fast approaching I wanted to replicate it with local female talent.

“We not only have local female DJs showcasing their talents we also have singers, spoken word artists and female visual artists displaying their artwork on the day. Moving forward my aim is to make it the norm to have women putting on events at Herd and not just because it’s IWD.”

One of the people taking part is Rachel Sutton whose DJ name is Wingin’it.

DJ Wingin’it

During lockdown, Rachel taught herself to DJ and began taking part in the regular Lockdown Legacy (LDL) online events, raising money for charities including Cancer Research, the Trussell Trust and Alzheimer’s UK.

“I had always loved house music but never thought I would ever be able to teach myself to play,” said Rachel, who is the mother of two boys.

“But seeing everyone else learn gave me the confidence to buy a controller and give it a go. It has been the hardest thing I have ever done, with untold technical issues, but the support of everyone in the group has been amazing, and despite the challenges I absolutely love it.

“Lockdown was tough; home-schooling, uncertainty over job security and poorly family members so DJing gave me a release I didn’t know I needed until I started playing.

“It’s infectious – I love finding new music and putting sets together to play for the various LDL events. It has also given me the opportunity to raise money for charities that mean a lot to me. My friend was in a horrific bike accident, which left him with an acquired brain injury, so we raised money to support him and his family.

“We also raised money for Cancer Research & Alzheimers UK after my father-in-law passed away from both diseases.”

Inspired by the IWD event at Herd, Rachel has organised an LDL ‘Ladies Takeover’ on Mixcloud on Friday 4 and Saturday 5 March.

Everyone performing at the ‘Ladies Takeover’ learnt to DJ during lockdown and has been playing for two years or less.

Featuring a mix of house music including classic, vocal, disco, soulful and deep house, as well as DnB, Jungle and everything in-between, the event is free to watch live on mixcloud from 5pm-11pm on Friday and 3pm til late on Saturday.

Rachel said: “I was inspired to run a two-day takeover on Mixcloud after being invited to play at Herd to celebrate IWD.

“Being part of the Lockdown Legacy has given me the confidence and support to find a new passion, however the women in the group are still in the minority, and that echoes across the music industry.

“International Women’s Day gives us a platform to try and #breakthebias and not only highlight women in music, but hopefully inspire other women to do the same, either in music or in an area where there is inequality.”

Visual artists taking part in the Herd IWD event include Vicky Paul, Sara Wibberley, Robyn Caley and Sharon de Leonardis.

Paulette Williams is a gospel singer who has worked with Omar, Mick Hucknall, Lenny Henry and Karen Wheeler. She’s joined by Sam Grant, Laura, Taeja Frances, Leeyane India and Rachael White.

Holding down the turntables will be Rachel Sutton, Chloe Richardson, Sally Murphy, Roberta de Leonardis, Amy Yearley & Zoe Stafford, Kerry Leeson, Wendy Harris and Bernie and Jo.

Entry is free, but to book a table to eat at Herd, call 01234 300193.

Must Read

Related Articles