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‘The people want it’: All Things Go on diversifying lineups

Independent, female-driven US festival All Things Go is set to celebrate its 10th anniversary this September, with its organisers highlighting how curating a diverse event has paid off.

Speaking with IQ, co-founders Will Suter and Stephen Vallimarescu and brand partnerships and advocacy manager Carlie Webbert discuss the evolution of the DC-based festival. Launching in 2014 as the one-day All Things Go Fall Classic, organisers began curating female-led programming to highlight festivals’ gender imbalance in 2018, with that year’s edition curated by singers Maggie Rogers and LPX.

Since then, the festival has boasted a majority of female and non-binary performers, with the 28-29 September event to be led by Laufey, Bleachers, Hozier, Reneé Rapp, Janelle Monáe, Conan Gray, and Chappell Roan. It marks the third consecutive sellout for the indie event, with 40,000 fans to attend across two days. Last year, the late-summer event expanded from one day, with the 2023 edition headlined by Lana Del Rey, Maggie Rogers, boygenius, and Carly Rae Jepsen.

Gender-balanced festival lineups are rare, with 90% of headline performers being male across 50 European festivals, according to a study by IQ and ROSTR. Across complete lineups, only 35% of artists were female and 1% were non-binary. Attendees have lovingly received the event, dubbing it “Gay-Chella,” “All Things Gay,” and “Lesbopalooza”.

Once you prioritise inclusion, your community will be stronger because you platform voices that usually don’t get the stage,” Webbert says.

Thirty-six artists will perform across multiple stages at ATG’s Maryland amphitheatre base, its biggest edition yet, including Maren Morris, Remi Wolf, Ethel Cain, and Julien Baker. Alongside the music programming, organisers will continue their one-night panel series, the Creator Summit, bringing together leaders in music, media, activism, and technology.

Here, the All Things Go organisers answer 10 questions in celebration of its 10th anniversary.

“Music is a powerful vessel for creating change”

This year marks your 10th anniversary. How are you planning to celebrate the accomplishment this year, and what are you proud to have accomplished over the past 10 years?

Will Suter: We’re celebrating our 10-year anniversary with our biggest lineup to date! We’ll have 36 artists performing over the two days at Merriweather Post Pavilion, in addition to a few surprises along the way. We’re proud to have created a robust community of music fans who circle ATG on their calendar every year and keep coming back — in addition to the new festival fans who might be experiencing the event for the first time.

This year’s edition takes place roughly one month before the presidential election in the capital. What plans do you have to intertwine social activism within the two-day schedule?

Carlie Webbert: Music is a powerful vessel for creating change. For the past few years, we’ve worked with advocacy organisations to ensure we do our part in platforming important causes. Last year we worked with Spotify EQUAL and The Ally Coalition to create a physical activism village on site with six non-profit organisations that were set up for fans to interact with. This year we’ll be working with Propeller, Calling All Crows, Headcount, Peta, Reverb, and more to drive awareness for those organisations along with raising funds. Ultimately, the advocacy arm of the festival will continue to grow and given how engaged the fans at ATG are, we are excited to see the impact that comes from it.

The cost of two-day general admission passes started at just under $200. With the cost of living and live music rising, how could you keep ticket prices down and why is it important to your team to keep the event affordable for different budgets?

Stephen Vallimarescu: Despite costs increasing substantially over the past few years, we strive to keep ticket prices as accessible as possible — and often lower than industry averages. As an independent music festival with a thriving community, we are constantly polling fans to understand what we can do to ensure a better fan experience, which includes affordable pricing and payment plans that start around $35.

All Things Go has openly called attention to putting women and non-binary individuals on the stage, but how is the organisation supporting and engaging those groups working in roles behind the scenes?

CW: Two of our longstanding partnerships are with Women in Music and Amplify Her Voice. These collaborations help us prioritise inclusion month after month. Women in Music supports us in organising the Creator Summit, a panel series held the night before our festival. This event highlights leading women in music, media, and technology. Through our partnership with Amplify Her Voice, we launched a program last year that provided hands-on backstage experiences to over 20 young women and at last year’s festival — an incredibly impactful opportunity for seeing first-hand what happens behind the scenes.

What’s the most memorable bit of feedback you’ve received in the 10 years of programming?

WS: In 10 years of programming, every year has brought new hurdles and new opportunities. We realised a few years into the festival that we need to really listen to and trust our fans. We take our post-festival fan survey very seriously and have launched a few iterations of an ATG fan club to really connect with those fans year-round. It’s ongoing feedback, year after year, on how we can improve our lineups in addition to the overall experience at the festival from the people who are buying the tickets.

“At the very least, ensure you book 50% female or non-binary acts — there is so much talent out there across genres”

Your planning process begins before the previous year’s edition takes place. Can you speak about keeping up with trends in your lineup curation process and how you are set to deliver your biggest offering yet?

WS: The planning process never really ends for the festival. We’re constantly discovering and listening to new music from emerging artists in addition to setting calendar milestones for established artists’ album releases, shows/tours and other festival appearances. The more we’re able to consume and monitor, the better — and it feels like there is more quality across music being released and live shows performed than ever before.

How would you describe the atmosphere of the festival to those who’ve never attended?

SV: The atmosphere at All Things Go is a reflection of our vibrant community, made up of both dedicated fans and boundary-pushing artists. It’s a unique and indescribable energy that covers the festival grounds. Most artists have commented on stage about the distinctiveness of All Things Go compared to other festivals. Our fans are united by a deep love for live music and a common ethos. We stand for something meaningful, and we strive to curate a festival experience that minimises scheduling conflicts and emphasises special moments that fans will remember forever.

In 2023, you hosted the first Creator Summit and brought together voices from the entertainment, music, political, and activism realms. Are there plans to continue this event, and can you highlight any major takeaways from last year?

CW: Yes! The Creator Summit is a significant part of our festival weekend, providing festival attendees with the ability to hear impactful voices from music, media and technology. The event provides a meaningful platform for engaging dialogue for our fans.

Your lineup has been female-driven since Maggie Rogers curated an all-female festival in 2018. Many festivals are still struggling to offer a diverse and balanced bill — what do you have to say to them?

CW: I would say, “Come on! The people want it!” We’ve sold out three years in a row, very fast, with a mostly female lineup. At the very least, ensure you book 50% female or non-binary acts — there is so much talent out there across genres. Once you prioritise inclusion your community will be stronger because you platform voices that usually don’t get the stage.

Describe how you’d like to see All Things Go evolve in the next 10 years.

SV: We aim to further support the next generation of artists and fans by championing their creativity not only through our annual festival but also through our expanding digital platforms. We’re allocating more and more resources to avenues such as newsletters, podcasts, and technology-driven initiatives. Our goal is to enable our community to connect and engage with each other seamlessly, regardless of where they live and beyond the festival weekend.


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Blink-182, Paramore to headline new US festival

Live Nation has detailed a brand-new alternative music festival based in the US, called Adjacent.

Blink-182 and Paramore are set to headline the two-day event, slated for 27 & 28 May 2023 (Memorial Day Weekend).

The all-ages festival will be held on the beach in Atlantic City, New Jersey, adjacent to the boardwalk.

Turnstile, Japanese Breakfast, Coheed & Cambria, Bleachers, Jimmy Eat World, The Front Bottoms, IDLES and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness are among the 40 bands that will perform across three stages.

Turnstile, Japanese Breakfast, Coheed & Cambria are among the 40 bands that will perform across three stages

Beach Bunny, PUP, Knocked Loose, Midtown, Jeff Rosenstock, Thursday, Motion City Soundtrack, The Starting Line, Phantom Planet, The Movielife, Mannequin Pussy and Wheatus are also featured on the Adjacent poster.

The announcement comes after Blink-182 announced a global tour, which will see all three founding members reunite for the first time in 10 years.

The outing includes a 2023 headline slot at Live Nation’s other new alternative music festival, When We Were Young.

The 85,000-cap “emo nostalgia” festival launched last weekend at Las Vegas Festival Grounds last weekend with headliners Paramore and My Chemical Romance.

Paramore recently announced a six-date arena tour for UK and Ireland, scheduled for April 2023.

See the full poster for Adjacent festival below.


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