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International Women’s Day: Live biz marks IWD 2021

Companies and associations from across the live music business have celebrated International Women’s Day (8 March) by paying tribute to inspiring female staff members, executives, performers and role models.

Established in the early 20th century, International Women’s Day (IWD) is held annually to commemorate the achievements of women, as well as to draw attention to ongoing issues around gender equality and women’s rights. Among the live music organisations participating in IWD 2021 are LIVE, the new umbrella organisation for the UK live music industry, which ran the #LIVEtogether campaign on social media, spotlighting female members of its constituent associations.

The LIVE (Live music Industry Venues and Entertainment) profiles included members of including the Concert Promoters Association, Association of Independent Festivals, Music Managers Forum, Production Services Association and more.

Using the hashtag #WomenToTheFront, LIVE member Music Venue Trust and its members will, throughout the week, highlight the work of women “who are vital to the grassroots music community”.

Music Venue Trust (MVT)’s head of events, projects and communications, Sarah Claudine, explains: “It’s incredibly important to Music Venue Trust to be using International Women’s Day 2021 as an opportunity to celebrate the women who play such an important role in the UK’s grassroots music industry. We are very proud to have so many remarkable women contribute to MVT, from our core team and coordinators to our board of trustees and patrons, and know that this diversity is reflective of the changing face of the wider live music community.”

MVT recently announced six new patrons, all women working in the music industry: rock duo Nova Twins, Welsh post-punk trio Adwaith, DJs Moxie and HAAi, singer-songwriter Kerri Watt, and booking agent Natasha Gregory (née Bent).

“From tour managers to merchandise sellers, venue owners to sound engineers, and members of my own band, I’ve experienced first hand the heart and soul that the women in our industry put in to live music,” says Watt. “I see my colleagues as role models, giving younger women the confidence to get more involved in live music and work within an industry they’re really passionate about.”

“It’s incredibly important … to be using IWD 2021 as an opportunity to celebrate the women who play such an important role in the grassroots music industry”

Similarly running content throughout the week is Liverpool Sound City, which is hosting a slate of IWD-themed programming both on its Facebook page and its dedicated Guesthouse streaming platform.

Today it streamed a Keychange-presented showcase featuring emerging female artists on Guesthouse, while a Keychange conference co-hosted by the Sound City Facebook page included panels on the gender gap and equality initiatives and a keynote interview with Keychange ambassador Kate Nash. More content is planned through Friday.

Sound City MD Rebecca Ayres says: “International Women’s Day is an important day in the calendar in terms of both lifting women into the spotlight and promoting awareness around the gender inequality that still exists in the music industry.

“But the fight for greater equality needs to be constant and, indeed, for Sound City, the commitments we have made as the lead UK Keychange festival are year-round commitments, with gender equality being a key aspect of our festivals, conferences and training. We look forward to celebrating women in music on International Women’s Day and beyond.”

“We need more women executives and female artists on our rosters”

Live Nation France chose to recognise its female staff with a special video, titled Les Femmes de Live Nation, which premiered on Instagram TV, while its UK sister company worked with Swedish singer-songwriter Zara Larsson on a free IWD live stream premiering at 7pm GMT:

At West End theatre operator LW Theatres, a special feature, ’West End Women’, shines a light “on some of the stars who run the show”.

The company, which operates celebrated concert venue the London Palladium, also revealed it has changed the traditionally masculine titles of its production jobs to gender-neutral equivalents, with master carpenter becoming head of stage engineering and dayman ‘first grade electrician’:

For Australia’s Mushroom Group, IWD provided the perfect opportunity for the women of the company to pay tribute to its late founder, Michael Gudinski, who was known as an advocate for women in live music.

“I did the first Australian Go-Gos and Bangles tours in the ’80s. That’s when I realised that, on the road, the girls were no different to the boys,” he recalled last year. “It further encouraged my belief that we need more women executives and female artists on our rosters.”

“He just gave women a go,” remembers Australian broadcaster Jane Gazzo. “Everyone says they have a Michael Gudinski story because he had time for all of us,” she told ABC Radio. “We’ve all had a piece of our heart ripped out this week.”

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Why young women are the future of construction

It feels odd to me that more women aren’t involved in an industry as interesting and challenging as construction – according to official statistics, women only account for 12.5% of the UK industry today.

This isn’t just a man’s job and, although I haven’t encountered any major obstacles during my career because I am a woman, there’s clearly something going on if construction is still so dominated by men.

So, after the first International Women’s Day of this decade, I think it’s important that we encourage the young women of today to become the future of this important industry and take advantage of the career-defining opportunities available to them.

I’ve led teams delivering some of this country’s most iconic projects, including the O2 Arena and the new Wembley Stadium. And today, in my role as executive vice-president of development and construction at The Madison Square Garden Company, I have the extraordinary opportunity to deliver state-of-the-art venues that represents the future of live entertainment: MSG Sphere.

We are currently building MSG Sphere in Las Vegas, and we’ve also announced plans to build a second MSG Sphere in London, pending planning consent and other approvals.

As a leader in the construction industry, it’s exciting to take on the challenge of transforming a disused and unloved former coach park in east London into a state-of-the-art venue, bringing jobs and investment to Newham and to the country.

I feel strongly that the key to getting more women into our sector is to show them what’s possible

It’s perhaps a happy coincidence that the Women into Construction project was developed on the Olympic Park, just yards from the MSG Sphere site in Stratford, to address the gender imbalance in construction. It was originally created as part of the legacy of the 2012 Olympics with the aim of increasing the number of women working in construction on the Olympic Park and creating a trickle-down effect throughout the industry.

I’d like to think that a project as exciting as MSG Sphere could be just as inspiring and encourage young women who are thinking about their future careers to consider development, construction, engineering, architecture and environmental sustainability – just some of the many job opportunities that MSG Sphere would create.

I feel strongly that the key to getting more women into our sector is to show them what’s possible. That’s one of the reasons MSG is so focused on working with schools, colleges and youth groups in east London: to give today’s students a taster of the sort of work they could do at MSG Sphere in the future.

And I am proud to continually champion the many exceptional women I work with at The Madison Square Garden Company, where so many of our senior management team are female.

It is odd that only 12.5% of the construction industry is female. I believe this is largely the result of an erroneous perception that the industry is not as open to women rather than the reality.

That said, if there are barriers to women joining this profession, then we need to remove them, and I would encourage the current and future leaders in the construction industry to lean in and do this together by example, by encouragement and – most importantly – by deed.


Jayne McGivern is executive vice-president, development and construction, for The Madison Square Garden Company.

Kylie, Little Mix to play all-female T4F festival

LittleBrazil’s Time For Fun (T4F), the largest live entertainment company in South America, is launching GRLS!, a new two-day festival celebrating the role of women in music.

Kylie Minogue and Little Mix are heading up the event’s all-female line-up, which also features US rapper Tierra Whack and Brazilian acts Linn da Quebrada, Gaby Amarantos and Mulamba.

Curated by Brazilian music platform Popload, GRLS! is taking place on 7 and 8 March – International Women’s Day – at the Latin American Memorial in São Paulo.

Talks, lectures and workshops focusing on the role of women in culture will also form part of the event’s programming.

“Our main goal was to design a festival made by women and non-binaries, that would also lead to an all-gender debate about the role and representation of women in our culture”

“Our main goal was to design a festival made by women and non-binaries, that would also lead to an all-gender debate about the role and representation of women in our culture,” explains Paola Wescher, T4F artistic director and Popload partner.

“Women always have to try harder, impose themselves more and achieve more to be respected. We have many strong women in all sectors of the music industry, both on stage and behind the scenes, making everything happen. We want to amplify these voices and be a milestone in this regard.”

More information can be found here.


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FR launches International Women’s Day event

Festival Republic has announced ReBalance Celebrates International Women’s Day, a networking event for women across the live music industry, as part of the promoter’s gender equality programme, ReBalance.

The event is taking place at the 900-capacity Union Chapel in Islington, London, on Sunday 8 March, the day dedicated to recognising the movement for women’s rights worldwide.

Last year’s International Women’s Day saw pop star Dua Lipa speak at the International Live Music Conference (ILMC) in London, who illustrated the struggle faced by young female artists trying to break into the industry.

Festival Republic is looking to combat this, with a daytime programme aimed at introducing those who want a career in the industry to women working within it. Professionals from Festival Republic, Live Nation, PRS Foundation, Academy Music Group, Sony Music, MAMA, Melody VR, Metropolis Music, the BBC, National Merchandise and Safe Gigs for Women will be in present to offer advice and deliver educational talks.

An evening performance from singer Nilüfer Yanya will follow the networking event, as well as appearances from Martha Hill and Tamzene, two artists to have come through Festival Republic’s ReBalance programme.

“We are incredibly proud of what ReBalance has achieved, so it only made sense to take the scheme further”

Launched in 2017, ReBalance is a six-year programme combatting the gender imbalance within the music industry. It offers five day’s studio time to one core female-identified band and artist each month, as well as a slot of a Festival Republic or Live Nation festival.

So far, 300 nominations have been made across six rounds, with 19 finalists performing live at The Great Escape, Wireless, Latitude and Reading and Leeds Festivals.

“We are incredibly proud of what ReBalance has achieved, so it only made sense to take the scheme further by hosting an event on International Women’s Day for those who want to meet women in the industry,” says the ReBalance team.

“Aimed at newcomers or if you’re just curious, this event is the chance to learn from the brightest stars and pick up some tips. Lack of female representation in music is an industry-wide issue, and we want to level it.”

Day tickets for ReBalance Celebrates International Women’s Day can be purchased for a £2 charity donation to Safe Gigs for Women, with evening tickets priced at £17.50. All tickets are available here.

Photo: Paul Hudson/Flickr (cropped) (CC BY 2.0)


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