New scheme to address gender imbalance in live music

rebalance live music

Festival Republic has partnered with PRS Foundation for ReBalance, a three-year programme providing a step-up for female led bands and solo artists in live music.

The initiative, based in Leeds, will select an eligible artist each month during 2018, 2019 and 2020 and offer them studio time, travel, accommodation and access to mentors. They will also receive a performance slot at a Live Nation or Festival Republic festival.

PRS Foundation chief executive Vanessa Reed, alongside Festival Republic’s Melvin Benn and Lucy Wood, will oversee quarterly selection panels.

These will include a rotating pool of industry experts including Nadine Shah, music journalist Alexis Petridis, Natti Shiner from Fickle Friends, CODA Agency’s Natasha Bent, Stephen Bass from Moshi Moshi and award-winning producer Mandy Parnell.

In addition, the initiative will support women who want to work in sound engineering and production by offering two studio apprenticeships over the three-year programme.

During the first 18 months they will work with engineers in-house at Old Chapel Music Studio in Leeds and during the second 18 months they will be lead/co-engineers on the project.

Natti Shiner, Fickle Friends, said: ‘Being a woman in a band ain’t easy. Let’s face it, guitar music is male-dominated and it seems like the wider music industry is hardwired towards men – even the fact that people often feel they have to refer to our band as being “female-fronted” feels wrong (who ever referred to Arctic Monkeys as a “male-fronted” band?!).

‘This imbalance is probably most obvious in the live world. Just looking at the majority of festival line ups will show you just how underrepresented women are, something that’s highlighted time and time again in the media.

‘ReBalance is important because it looks to tackle this issue in a long-term way. Rather than just sticking a few female artists on some bills as a token gesture, it will provide support for the things that actually matter to an emerging artist – studio time, travel, accommodation, practical advice etc.’

In PRS Foundation’s Women Make Music Evaluation, it was highlighted that women represent 16 percent of UK songwriters and composers and that there is a lack of women in other roles across the industry, with ‘engineering, in particular, viewed as an almost entirely male “closed shop”’.

ReBalance responds to this by supporting both artists and up-and-coming female engineers in a programme which offers valuable studio time and industry support.

To learn more, and apply, please visit