Festival Republic and PRS Foundation have unveiled details of ReBalance, a three-year programme based in Leeds that will aim to start addressing the problem of gender imbalance on festival line-ups.
The initiative will seek to tackle this at the grassroots, providing one week’s studio recording time to a core female band, female musician or female solo artist each month in from 2018-2020.
In addition, successful applicants will be provided with accommodation and travel covered by Festival Republic. At the end of the year, Festival Republic will commit to giving these successful acts a slot at a Festival Republic or Live Nation Festival.
The project will also support women who want to work in sound engineering and production by offering studio apprenticeships.
It is a topical conversation, with some damning reports and visual representations of festival line-ups illustrating how few women feature on line-ups in recent years. A report in The Independent claimed that Reading and Leeds line-ups have been 95% male for the last decade.
Promoters, including Festival Republic MD Melvin Benn have previously dismissed this as a simple product of market forces and audience demand.
PRSF’s recent ‘Women Make Music’ Evaluation revealed that women represent 16% of UK songwriters and composers and that there is a lack of women in other roles across the industry, with engineering being cited as an almost entirely male ‘closed shop’.
Changing his tune for the better, Benn said; “Something needs to be done about gender equality in the music industry. It’s a wider issue that involves us (the live industry) but the solution doesn’t rest only with us. I have decided to be proactive in changing and working towards this no longer being an issue in the future, and that’s what this project is about. We’ve been working closely with PRS Foundation and their Women Make Music programme, alongside Old Chapel Studio in Leeds to pull together this exciting new initiative. ReBalance will enable future, and current female musicians within the industry, to have the support they need in order to be recognised”.
CEO of PRSF Vanessa Reed added: “We look forward to helping Festival Republic to deliver this important and exciting programme and to following the results of the monthly studio sessions planned. We need more male leaders like Melvin Benn to recognise the ongoing gender gap in music and to use their position to do something about it. Coming up with campaigns and initiatives like ReBalance, will ultimately strengthen our industry and be of benefit to us all”.
ReBalance’s artists and engineers will be nominated by industry experts, with a selection panel then shortlisting and selecting the successful artists and engineers from this nominated shortlist.
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