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45 festivals now signed up to 2022 gender balance pledge

By | Published on Monday 26 February 2018


The PRS Foundation has today confirmed that the number of festivals and music conferences around the world pledging to achieve a 50/50 gender balance across their line ups by 2022 has now reached 45. The Foundation has been encouraging festivals to make the pledge as part of its Keychange initiative, which is supporting various projects that seek to address the gender gap in the music industry, both on and off stage.

A number of festivals had already made the commitment when Keychange launched at the Reeperbahn festival in Germany last year, including Reeperbahn itself and BIME (Spain), Iceland Airwaves, Way Out West (Sweden), Musikcentrum Sweden, Tallinn Music Week (Estonia), MUTEK (Canada) and The Great Escape (UK). 38 more events have now joined the pledge, taking the total number to 45.

Many of the participating events are showcase festivals where the music industry routinely scouts for new talent. Given that new artists who play these events often subsequently populate the line-ups of more conventional festivals in the years that follow, achieving a more balanced gender split at the likes of Reeperbahn and The Great Escape will hopefully ultimately result in more diverse line-ups across the board.

The dominance of male artists at music festivals and male speakers at music conferences has been much more vocally criticised in recent years. This year, in particular, initial line-up announcements from key UK festivals are being much more closely scrutinised. There are various challenges to meet in order to solve the music industry’s gender diversity problem, and Keychange is seeking to address a number of them through its various projects. Line-up commitments like the one being made here are part of that process.

PRS Foundation chief Vanessa Reed says: “Our focus on gender equality in 2018 aligns with the centenary for some women being given the vote in the UK. 100 years on, the push for gender parity across society continues and with increased public awareness of inequalities across the creative industries we have an opportunity to respond and commit to tangible change in music”.

She goes on: “The Keychange network of female artists and industry professionals and the festival partners’ idea of establishing a collective pledge will significantly accelerate change. I hope that this will be the start of a more balanced industry which will result in benefits for everyone”.

The festivals that are newly signed up to the pledge are: 53 Degrees North (England), Aldeburgh Festival (England), Blissfields (England), Bluedot (England), Borealis (Norway), BreakOut West (Canada), By:Larm (Norway), Canadian Music Week (Canada), Cheltenham Jazz Festival (England), Cheltenham Music Festival (England), Eurosonic Noorderslag (Netherlands), FOCUS Wales (Wales), Granada Experience (Spain), Hard Working Class Heroes (Ireland), Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (England), A2IM Indie Week (USA), BBC Music Introducing Stages (UK), Katowice JazzArt Festival (Poland), Kendal Calling (England), Liverpool International Music Festival (England), Liverpool Sound City (England), Manchester Jazz Festival (England), Midem (France), Norwich Sound And Vision (England), North By North East (Canada), NYC Winter Jazzfest (USA), Off The Record (England), Oslo World (Norway), Pop-Kultur (Germany), BBC Proms (England), Roundhouse Rising (England), Spitalfields Music (England), Sŵn (Wales), Trondheim Calling (Norway), Waves Vienna (Austria), Westway LAB (Portugal), Wide Days (Scotland) and Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Festival (France).