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45 conferences, showcases commit to gender equality

A host of new European festivals and music industry events have given their backing to the Keychange initiative, committing to a 50/50 gender balance

By IQ on 26 Feb 2018

45 international music festivals and conferences pledge to tackle gender inequality for PRS Foundation's Keychange

image © Ashutosh Gupta

Forty-five new music industry conferences and showcase festivals have signed up to PRS Foundation’s Keychange initiative, pledging to achieve or maintain a 50/50 gender balance across their events by 2022.

Politicians, artists and the wider music industry will gather at the Canadian High Commission in London this evening to mark the milestone, which sees events including the Netherlands’ Eurosonic Noorderslag, Spain’s Granada Experience, France’s Midem, Canada’s Canadian Music Week and BreakOut West, Norway’s Borealis and the UK’s Wide Days, Roundhouse Rising and Focus Wales joining founding festival partners Reeperbahn Festival (Germany), BIME (Spain), Iceland Airwaves, Way Out West (Sweden), Musikcentrum Sweden, Tallinn Music Week (Estonia), MUTEK (Canada) and the Great Escape (UK) as Keychange supporters.

Keychange is backed by the EU’s Creative Europe programme, and will later this year presents its manifesto at an event at the European parliament in Brussels.

Other participating festivals include Liverpool Sound City (UK), Waves Vienna (Austria), Westway Lab (Portugal), Hard Working Class Heroes (Rep. of Ireland), A2IM Indie Week (US) and Pop-Kultur (Germany).

“I hope that this will be the start of a more balanced industry which will result in benefits for everyone”

“We support diverse talent across every programme we run at PRS Foundation,” says the charitable organisation’s CEO, Vanessa Reed. “Forty per cent of our grantees in 2017 were from a BAME [black, Asian and minority-ethnic] 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. A hundred 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.”

Reeperbahn’s Alex Schulz adds: “Reeperbahn Festival is proud to be a founding Keychange partner because we recognise the barriers that women are facing in the music industry and we know that our festival stages aren’t as balanced as we would like them to be. Keychange is promoting a shift that will ultimately be good for our festivals and good for the industry as a whole. I hope that many more festivals will have joined with us by the end of this year, making this a global movement.”


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