Festivals back PRS Foundation’s gender balance initiative

The Great Escape 2018

A total of 45 UK and international music festivals and conferences have pledged to back PRS Foundation’s Keychange initiative, promising to tackle the gender imbalance in festival lineups.

The pioneering scheme was set up by PRS Foundation, the UK’s leading funder of new music, and is supported by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.

The scheme celebrates and invests in the talent of female music creators and innovators, and aims to create a more inclusive music industry for present and future generations.

Festivals including BBC Music, The Great Escape (pictured), Liverpool Sound City and Cheltenham Jazz Festival have backed the scheme, pledging to achieve or maintain a 50:50 gender balance by 2022.

Vanessa Reed, Chief Executive Officer of PRS Foundation, said: ‘We support diverse talent across every programme we run at PRS Foundation. 40 percent of our grantees in 2017 were from a BAME background and 53 percent featured female artists.

‘Our focus on gender equality in 2018 aligns with the centenary for some women being given the vote in the UK. 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.’

She added: ‘I hope that this will be the start of a more balanced industry which will result in benefits for everyone.’

Keychange partners include Iceland Airwaves, Reeperbahn Festival and The Great Escape.

Reeperbahn Festival founding partner Alex Schulz said: ‘Reeperbahn Festival is proud to be a founding Keychange partner because we recognise the barriers that women are facing in the music industry and we know that our festival stages aren’t as balanced as we would like them to be. 

‘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.’

Earlier this year, PRS Foundation announced it had reached a 50:50 gender split among its grantees – three years ahead of schedule.