Music Festivals Take Pledge to End Gender Inequality in Lineups

MUTEK, NXNE, CMW and BreakOut West are all part of the Keychange initiative
Music Festivals Take Pledge to End Gender Inequality in Lineups
Photo: Alexandria Pavelich
Forty-five music festivals and conferences around the globe have pledged to achieve a 50/50 gender balance across their artist lineups by 2022.

The movement is being led by UK talent development company PRS Foundation, whose Keychange initiative looks to improve gender equality across the industry. Ambassadors for the program include Garbage frontwoman Shirley Manson, producer Tony Visconti and indie outfit Hinds.

Canadian festivals and industry conferences such as North By North East (NXNE), Canadian Music Week and BreakOut West have made the 50/50 pledge, joining Keychange founding festival partners like Montreal's MUTEK, Iceland Airwaves, UK's the Great Escape and Germany's Reeperbahn Festival.

Other festivals who have signed the 50/50 pledge include Gilles Peterson's Worldwide Festival (France), Norway's Trondheim Calling, Scotland's Wide Days, Germany's Pop-Kultur, England's Kendal Calling and more.

"The Keychange network of female artists and industry professionals and the festival partners' idea of establishing a collective pledge will significantly accelerate change. I hope that this will be the start of a more balanced industry which will result in benefits for everyone," PRS Foundation CEO Vanessa Reed said in a statement.

Reeperbahn founder Alex Schulz added, "Keychange is promoting a shift that will ultimately be good for our festivals and good for the industry as a whole. I hope that many more festivals will have joined with us by the end of this year, making this a global movement."

You can find the full list of 45 festivals that have committed to the 50/50 pledge here.