Forty-five international music festivals have pledged to make their line-ups, conferences, and commissions gender-equal by 2022, baby! (Well, they promise to include as many women as men.) The decision was led by the U.K.’s PRS Foundation, and its Keychange initiative, an effort to support women in the music industry and close the gender gap at music festivals.
Festivals on the list include North by North East in Canada and BBC Proms in the U.K.
It’s a cool step in the right direction, considering how music award shows like the Grammys, the Latin Grammys, the Latin Billboard Awards, and so on suck at recognizing women. The refrain of professional organizations like the Recording Academy, which votes on the nominations and winners of the Grammy Awards, seems to be, “We just can’t find that many talented women! More talented women should step up and make themselves noticed!” That’s BS—a common excuse (“It’s the talent pool, not us!”) used by the entities that have been criticized for discriminating (or turning a blind eye) to minority talent. It’s a lie, and if these festivals can pull off a 50/50 gender split, then so can everyone else! Although, I don’t necessarily see why it should take four years to achieve.
Only two of the 45 music festivals in the initiative are in the U.S., and both are in New York: the Winter Jazz festival and A2IM Indie Week. I wonder what it would take to get music festivals like Coachella, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Governor’s Ball, Panorama, Austin City Limits, FYF Fest, and Outside Lands—you know, the festivals that young people who go to music festivals are most likely to spend their money on—to commit to that.
Hats off to the 45 festivals participating—you can read the list in full here.