International Women's Day 2024 - Rivca Burns

Feb 19, 2024

 At Cloudwater, we have a diverse team consisting of 50% women who are involved in different areas of the business such as production, packaging, warehouse, retail, hospitality, and management. We value and celebrate the achievements of women as it is an essential part of our identity here at Cloudwater. On February 6th, we hosted an extraordinary brew day in honour of IWD 2024 and invited women from various Manchester organisations who have inspired and impacted us and their communities. Participants in the project include Flawd, Manchester Laces, Odd Arts, Eat Well, Isca, and other notable figures like Maxine Peake and Rivca Burns who attended the brew day.. it was amazing to have everyone under one roof, and we cherish the result of the day which you might be holding in your hands right now. Enjoy!



What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your career?

Being taken seriously and being listened to has always been a tricky one, as a woman who looks quite young as well. It's frustrating and infuriating when it happens and used to really send me under. Now having built incredibly supportive communities and eco-systems around me when these things happen I just feel sorry for the person who is doing that. The music industry is very much a boys club, even recent news stories are telling us that this battle for equality and just general rights for women in this industry is far from over, but we aren’t alone in this battle anymore. 


Who inspires you?

Gosh so many people. There are music icons of course that vary wildly such as Little Simz, Joni Mitchell, DJ Paulette, Dolly Parton, Jamz Supernova who all stand up for what they believe in and platform and support other women consistently through their careers. But then also as a big womens football fan I have found icons in the likes of current Chelsea Manager, Emma Hayes and England Manager Serina Weigman who both lead in such different ways and have taught me a lot. Then closer to home I have been fortunate enough to work and be inspired daily by some amazing women, my Co-Directors; Emma Thompson & Siân Roberts and Jane Beese deserve special mentions but there are so SO many more - Manchester is brimming with fantastic iconic females who are changing the face of the industry. Then finally my Mum & Sister are 2 of the biggest inspirations to me in how they have individually approached life and its these systems around you that truly make you who you are! 


How do you balance your various roles and responsibilities within the music industry, from gig promotion to festival curation and academia?

They all go hand in hand to be honest. I’m a big believer of the Adrienne Maree Brown quote of ‘Everything that happens on the small scale can happen at the large scale’ and I embody this everyday in my approach to work. Having worked in the beer industry for a good few years as well as the music industry I think the learning of the transfer of skills has really helped to be able to cross these roles and understand how they all interlink. Without the right education we will never make change in the industry on the large scale, the scene gets set right at the start and if this breaks down then the whole structure does. 


What's your go-to song when you need an instant mood boost?

God this is hard as different moods require different tunes but a big shout to ‘My power’ by Nija, Beyonce, Tierra Whack & Moonchild Sanelly (& many other collaborators too) - it hits HARD and proper gets me going, and for International Womens Day i think this tune says everything we need.


In your opinion, what’s the most exciting thing happening in Manchester at the moment?

For me it has always been a collaborative City, especially in the grassroots, but that now larger organisations are starting to see the benefit in this collaborative approach and that by coming together we are stronger and can form more than the sum of our parts to support the ecology of the scene it is truly exciting and the possibilities are endless. We are starting to slowly build back an infrastructure that will support art to thrive (& stay) in this City, but it has to be a shared goal.  


What inspired your passion for the music industry, and how did you initially get involved?

The formative moment for me was going to my first Glastonbury with my Mum aged 14. She gave me free reign to explore the site and I must have seen over 80 acts in the weekend, i was knackered and SO inspired. However, I rarely saw anyone like me on the stage and there was something that ignited in me that weekend that wanted to try and make a difference. Cue going to tons of music conferences and training sessions for free and then putting on my own festival aged 16 at the local cricket club. This continued throughout University where I came to Manchester and whilst doing my English & American Literature degree I ran a monthly live music night for women by women and was DJing 2 to 3 times a week and gaining as much experience in the industry as I possibly could, especially where it placed women front and centre. 


Can you tell us about a project or initiative you've been involved in that you're particularly proud of, and why?

Sounds From the Other City is hands down the project I am most proud of. Having been involved for 15 years and Director for about 12 of those I know that myself, my Co-Director Mark Carlin and more recently my Co-Directors Siân Roberts & Emma Thompson have created and curated something truly special. It's an authentic annual snapshot of the City that has so much love and respect in the Industry and I am so proud of that - it was never its intention and we will never take that for granted, it’s our true gift to the City of Salford and its impact is felt beyond it. The way in which we make it happen year on year on a shoestring as well is unreal, its a truly magical event and nothing as authentic and genuine exists like it in the UK. 


What inspired you to focus on promoting gigs that spotlight women in the music industry?
(Sorry sort of answered this one above in what inspired my passion)


What do you see as some of the key trends shaping the future of the music industry, particularly concerning diversity and representation?

I think pledges like Key Change, organisations like Attitude is Everything, Black Lives in Music, Saffron and the All Things Equal manifesto are really important to the future of our industry. It is going to take the big organisations to stand up and take these things on though to really see a difference. 

In terms of the industry as a whole a big supporter of the Football model of support where the big leagues all put money into the FA in order to support and nurture the grassroots, music needs to follow suit - we have so many arenas, labels, streaming services, ticketing companies making so much money and grassroots venues shutting down at the highest rate, until the large start to support the small the system will not survive. 


What’s your guilty pleasure in Manchester?

No pleasures should ever be guilty but one of my greatest pleasures goes to my friends at Flawd wine who are a mere 2 minutes away from my boat on Ancoats Marina and I have spent far too much time there since they opened. The food scene in this City is popping, its a great time to live in Greater Manchester. 


What's your connection to Cloudwater?

Having known owner Paul since his days as a musician and then being there right at the start of the opening of Cloudwater a lot of my friends have been involved over the years; Textbook Studio (who are still going strong as design masters), Will France, James Moffat, Hannah Murphy, Anna Beam, Aliyah Hussain, John Powell Jones, Mariel Osborn. PLUS my 8 years being involved and running IMBC saw really early conversations with Paul as he was considering starting the brewery to then working with the brewery as a room sponsor mere years later. Big respect to Paul and his commitment to Cloudwater, it has been a game changing brewery for the UK over the years, from seasonal collections, to placing artists at the core, to absolutely smashing it internationally and still fighting for change.

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