Proms among music festivals pledging 50/50 gender split in lineups

Liverpool Sound City, Aldeburgh and Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide festival also promise gender equality among acts by 2022

Forty-five international music festivals, including the Proms, Liverpool Sound City, the Aldeburgh opera festival and Kendal Calling, have pledged a 50/50 gender split in their lineups.

As part of the Keychange initiative, founded by the PRS Foundation, the festivals will implement the change – across their live music acts, conference talks and commissions – by 2022.

Vanessa Reed, CEO of PRS Foundation, said: “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 … I hope that this will be the start of a more balanced industry which will result in benefits for everyone.”

The move comes amid continued controversies around male-dominated festival lineups. Last year, a BBC study of 14 major UK festivals for the last decade found out of 660 headline appearances, only 37 were all-female acts. This year’s Wireless festival was criticised by stars such as Lily Allen for only including three female artists across three days of music, while this year’s Green Man’s lineup features no women in its top 14 headline acts.

Other festivals making the gender equality pledge include Bluedot, Cheltenham music and Jazz festivals, Sŵn, and the Introducing stages the BBC hosts across various festivals. International events also signing up include Germany’s Pop-Kultur, France’s Worldwide (organised by Gilles Peterson) and Norway’s by:Larm.

It follows a similar initiative by the UK new music charity Sound & Music, which pledged to work with at least 50% female composers by 2020.


Ben Beaumont-Thomas

The GuardianTramp

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