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3 years of gender-balanced line-ups for Way Out West

Sweden’s Way Out West announces Solange as final headliner, achieving a gender-balanced line-up for the third year in a row

By Anna Grace on 14 May 2019

Way Out West gender-balanced line-up

image © Claudio Britos

Sweden’s Way Out West festival, promoted by Live Nation-owned Luger, has announced Solange as the final headliner for its 2019 edition, completing a 50/50 gender split line-up for the third year running.

The singer joins previously announced headliners Cardi B, the Cure and Stormzy. Other acts to play at the Gothenburg-based festival include James Blake, Earl Sweatshirt, Zara Larsson and Christine and the Queens.

First obtaining gender-balanced programming in 2016, Way Out West signed up to the Keychange pledge in 2018 with over 150 other festivals, which commits participating festivals to achieve a gender-balanced line-up by 2020.

The Swedish live music scene came under fire in 2017 after almost 2,000 female agents, managers, promoters, production managers and artists signed an open letter detailing experiences of sexual harassment or assault within the music industry.

Talking to IQ for the Sweden market report, Luger co-founder Ola Broquist stated that the music industry in the country was working to resolve its issues. Broquist referenced “gender equality progression in festival line-ups” as an important part of this improvement process.

“Way Out West is one of a small number of festivals to present a line-up in which female artists are not outnumbered by their male counterparts”

Way Out West is one of a small number of festivals to present a line-up in which female artists are not outnumbered by their male counterparts.

This year, Barcelona’s Primavera Sound festival will feature its first-ever 50/50 line-up, with artists including Miley Cyrus, Carly Rae Jepsen, Janelle Monáe and Robyn. Way Out West headliner Cardi B cancelled her performance at Primavera Sound in April, due to promotional commitments.

In 2018, Sena Live’s Iceland Airwaves became the first major festival to have more women than men on the bill.

However, festivals participating in IQ‘s European festival preview stated that more needed to be done to encourage young, emerging female artists, as organisers struggled to find sufficient numbers of top-level female performers.

In addition to its efforts to promote gender equality, Way Out West is also committed to improving sustainability. The festival has been meat- and largely dairy-free since 2012. Last year, organisers invested in extra emission-reducing measures, in a bid to become climate neutral.

Way Out West takes place from 8 – 10 August 2019 in Gothenburg, Sweden. Three-day passes start from £140. More information can be found here.


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