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Festival Republic relaunches gender-balance initiative

ReBalance, which initially launched in 2017, will provide opportunities for female and gender-expansive artists both on stage and in studio

By Hanna Ellington on 08 Mar 2024

Festival Republic withdraws appeal over Wireless licensing restrictions

Wireless Festival

Festival Republic has announced the relaunch of its development programme for female and gender-expansive artists, on International Women’s Day.

ReBalance, which initially launched in 2017, is a year-long initiative designed to address “challenges along the new music pipeline journey while providing crucial, tangible support to emerging talent,” organisers said in a press release.

The programme is designed to provide opportunities on both the stage and in the studio. Beneficiary acts will receive dedicated studio time, mentorship from industry leaders, a year-end showcase, and a guaranteed Festival Republic event performance in 2025.

“We’ll be investing in emerging artists, offering practical support at a pivotal stage in their careers”

Studio work will be “led and/or assisted by a woman or gender-expansive professional,” in an effort to both diversify the recording environment and provide opportunities for production professionals.

“We’ll be investing in emerging artists, offering practical support at a pivotal stage in their careers. This includes providing them with tools, connections and a commitment to a festival booking at one of our events,” says Melvin Benn, managing director of Festival Republic.

The six UK-based acts for this year’s class are Mary O’Donnell, Sprout, Bebeluna, samxemma, cruush and Red Ivory.

The relaunch of the initiative, which ran for three years before being paused due to the pandemic, comes during a period of heightened focus on misogyny in the UK music industry.

National lawmakers recently reported that the industry is a “boys’ club” with women facing intersectional barriers including racial discrimination.

“Women’s creative and career potential should not have limits placed upon it by ‘endemic’ misogyny which has persisted for far too long within the music industry,” says MP Caroline Nokes, Women and Equalities Committee chair.

Across 50 of Europe’s leading festivals last year, 90% of headlining performers were men, according to a study by IQ and ROSTR. Artists across the complete lineups also skewed male, with 35% of artists being female and 1% non-binary.


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