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Denmark’s Spot festival pioneers all-female crew

In a first, Spot organiser ROSA recruited an all-female production team to oversee its Åben Scene stage, in partnership with Women in Live Music

By Jon Chapple on 12 Jun 2019

The WILM Spot crew

The WILM Spot crew

image © Women in Live Music

With the push for greater female representation on festival line-ups, women-only stages are becoming increasingly common – witness the Rinse FM stage at Wireless 2018, for example, or the Queen Tut’s stage at this summer’s Transmt in Scotland. Danish showcase festival Spot, however, has taken a different tack, instead bolstering female representation backstage with an all-female crew.

The initiative – a collaboration between Women in Live Music (WILM) and festival organiser Danish Rock Council (ROSA) – saw ROSA invite WILM, a Denmark-based association for women working in the European concert business, to run a stage at Spot with an all-female production team.

“This has never been done in Denmark before – in fact, it is so rare to see women working at live music events in Denmark, and many other places around the world, that some people are not even aware that they exist,” reads a WILM blog post announcing the partnership. “So when ROSA informed us of their initiative and offered us a collaboration crewing a stage at SPOT festival this year, how could we say no?”

After realising the crew could not be all-Danish – there are only around 10 female sound engineers in Denmark, out of more than 700 – WILM opened up for the call for staff to other European countries, and flew in crew members from abroad. It also took on three trainees in Denmark.

Malle Kaas, crew chief, explains: “WILM received resumes from approximately 15 women from all over Europe for the different positions. We voted for the women we thought best suited to the different tasks and then I took interviews with everyone upfront to be make sure they were comfortable, aware of their roles and, most importantly, could be great team players.

“None of the artists or their crew and managers seemed to be thrown off by us. It all felt pretty normal”

“Not only did they need to be competent at their role, they also needed to be able to look after their trainees for the festival.”

Commenting on reactions to the all-female crew, Malle continues: “What was super great was that none of the artists or their crew and managers seemed to be thrown off by us. It all felt pretty normal. Some of them would come up to us after the show saying that they thought it was really cool to see an all-female crew.

“In contrast, the local crew did not seem pleased to see us at the start – but then at the end of the festival, even they came over, asking if they could drink beer with us. So the festival ended with after-show beers for all, good laughs and lots of hugs, just like it should do.”

Spot 2019 took place from 2 to 4 May in Aarhus.

WILM held its inaugural awards last December, honouring Kilimanjaro Live’s Siobháin Brackenridge, Beatbox’s Xenia Grigat and the Eventim Apollo’s Alice James, among others.

Pictured: Stage manager Yu Lu (UK), sound trainee Josephine Mahler (DK), stage trainee Hannah Elmgreen (DK), light trainee Louise Bagger (DK), monitor engineer Lisa Affenzeller (AU), light designer Heida Ragnarsdottir (IS) and FOH engineer/crew chief Malle Kaas (DK)

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