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New report shows UK festival line-ups still have a gender balance problem

Research by The Guardian shows festivals still aren't committed to booking enough women

  • Paddy Edrich
  • 8 April 2021
New report shows UK festival line-ups still have a gender balance problem

Music festivals are set to return in the UK this summer but new research shows that issues surrounding gender equality still remain.

Research conducted by The Guardian found that out of 31 festivals, a majority were heavily weighted towards male performers.

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Analysis showed dance festival Creamfields featured a 91 per cent male line-up while Manchester-based Parklife was over 70 per cent.

Elsewhere, the Isle Of Wight Festival, which is set to be headlined by David Guetta, and three other male performers only offered a 27 per cent female line-up.

Maxie Gedge, UK project manager of music industry initiative Keychange, said: “It’s totally unacceptable that after a year of turmoil, women and minorities are being excluded from this return to live.

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“We usually stay on the positive side instead of calling people out, but we’re getting tired. It’s not an accident any more, it’s a statement of exclusion.

“The fact that this keeps happening shows that there are certain festivals that just aren’t taking responsibility, or they’re not viewing it as their responsibility when, in actuality, it’s everyone’s.”

Keychange is the PRS Foundation’s initiative encouraging festivals to commit to lineups that are 50 per cent women and gender minorities by 2022.

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Other festival line-ups such as We Out Here are over 60 per cent male, while Reading & Leeds, Camp Bestival and Cross the Tracks ranges between 50-60 per cent.

Keychange highlights that diverse line-ups would refresh the talent pipeline and prevent events from becoming stale while enhancing their sustainability.

Gedge continued to tell The Guardian that exclusionary programming presents a negative message to attendees as well as society as a whole, especially as women, gender minorities and women of colour had been affected more by the pandemic.

“It’s really important that we take that very seriously and think about what we want the future of music to look like, and not what it did look like,” Gedge said.

Read this next: Dutch government plans to allow music festivals from July

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