Festivals make pledge towards gender-balanced line-ups by 2022

The Great Escape, Way Out West, Iceland Airwaves and more make pledge

A host of music festivals and conferences around the world have pledged towards achieving or maintaining gender-equal line-ups by 2022.

The PRS Foundation has launched its International Keychange initiative, which aims to improve greater equality in festival line-ups, conferences and commissions over the next four years. 45 festivals and conferences have made the pledge so far.

Among the festivals partnering with the cause are Brighton’s The Great Escape, Iceland Airwaves, Way Out West and Tallinn Music Week, while UK festivals and events to take the pledge include Blissfields, Kendal Calling, Liverpool Sound City, Sŵn Festival, Roundhouse Rising, BBC Music Introducing and the BBC Proms.


International festivals joining the cause include By:Larm (Norway), Canadian Music Week (Canada), North by North East (Canada), Winter Jazzfest (USA), A2IM Indie Week (USA), Trondheim Calling (Norway) and more.

PRS Foundation CEO Vanessa Reed says of the news: “We support diverse talent across every programme we run at PRS Foundation. 40% of our grantees in 2017 were from a BAME background and 53% featured female artists. 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.”

“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.”

Ambassadors of Keychange include Shirley Manson, Hinds, Bowie producer Tony Visconti and Glastonbury organiser Emily Eavis.

See more about the initiative here.

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