#MusicNews | Music’s biggest stars are women. But music festivals make you think differently

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Despite the fact that the industry’s most in-demand and popular performers right now are women, not only we hardly see any but well-established female artists headlining spot on a festival poster, but it’s also rare to see them perform at a festival the first place; a 2018 survey by Pitchfork found that women make up only 19% of the average lineup.

 The disparity has not gone unnoticed by festivalgoers who could spot diversity problem on the music festival posters — half of these goers are women according to Nielsen.  

That’s why there have been some of female activists and organisations who are making large-scale efforts to challenge the status quo made by the music festivals. 

According to Andreea Magdalina of SheSaid.so which advocates for women in music industry worldwide, she believed that ““You can only create diversity onstage or on the screen if there is diversity behind the stage and behind the screen as well. If you have a bunch of men in the boardroom deciding who gets booked for what, of course they’re not going to be mindful of representation diversity and inclusion.”

Jess Partridge from Keychange echoed this sentiment. “It’s really important for everyone to recognize we have a responsibility — we all have a responsibility — to make sure this is an inclusive industry. ... It’s down to us each individually to look at our fields of information and see who we work with, who we hire, and really examine if we are being equal in these things.” Keychange is an international diversity-in-music initiative that offers professional mentoring and networking events for women in the music industry as well as encouraging international festival promoters to sign its pledge to have a 50-50 gender split between male and female musicians by the year 2022

But that’s not all bad news. Primavera Sound - major Barcelona-based festival – had created their diverse line-ups with more then 50 percent of acts being female this year. To show active support in building equality and diversity in festival line-ups, it had released an announcement last December saying ““If half of our audience is female, why shouldn’t half of our line up be so too? Why can’t there be equality in schedules, styles and stages? It has not been easy to fight against the inertia that has been passed down for so many years, but after all, if the future is female, what’s the point in waiting? We are starting here, accelerating our change to build a line up that shouldn’t be the exception, which we want to make the norm.” 

Going forward, building a lineup is about more than booking the most inventive or exciting performers; it’s also about presenting an image of the music industry of the moment by creating diverse line-ups in terms of gender, race, orientation and many more.