A new initiative was announced today, seeing 45 international music festivals pledging to do their part in the fight for gender equality by implementing a 50/50 gender split on their respective lineups come 2022. The initiative was spearheaded by UK talent agency PRS Foundation, which just launched a new program called Keychange, which is, according to their website, “a pioneering European initiative which is empowering women to transform the future of the music industry and encouraging festivals to achieve a 50:50 balance by 2022.”
The description goes on to explain how Keychange plans to promote gender equality in the festival world:
60 emerging artists and innovators from across Europe will be invited to international festivals to take part in a series of showcases, collaborations and a programme of creative labs. Backed up by an innovation fund for the network to test new projects and ideas, Keychange aims to accelerate change and create a better more inclusive music industry for present and future generations.
Several international festivals have already signed on to assist Keychange in achieving their goal, including Iceland Airwaves; Winter Jazzfest and A2IM Indie Week (New York); BreakOut West and North by North East (Canada); BBC Proms, Kendal Calling, Sŵn, and Liverpool Sound City (U.K.); Way Out West (Sweden), and many more.
“Our focus on gender equality in 2018 aligns with the centenary for some women being given the vote in the UK,” said PRS Foundation CEO Vanessa Reed in a release. “100 years on, the push for gender parity across society continues and with increased public awareness of inequalities across the creative industries we have an opportunity to respond and commit to tangible change in music.”
All of this is great, but why does the plan have to take more than five years to be put into action? While it makes sense that they Keychange program serves as a sort of incubator for emerging talent and placing them on festival lineups, it’s less clear why this change can’t be implemented by 2019, let alone 2018.