Music festivals’ 50/50 pledge is “a crucial step in achieving gender equality” says ISM

PRS Foundation’s Keychange initiative has recently announced that 45 international music festivals and conferences had pledges a 50/50 gender split in their line-ups by 2022.

The likes of BBC Proms, Liverpool Sound City, Aldeburgh Opera Festival and Kendal Calling have all announced their commitment to implementing change and making more women visible across their events.

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) is championing this new initiative.

“We welcome the excellent news that forty-five international music festivals have pledged a 50/50 gender split in their line-ups. This is a crucial step in achieving gender equality in the music industry,” said Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive of the ISM.

“With the call for equality of opportunity across the creative industries being made louder than ever, this commitment to a more balanced music industry will help to open up opportunities for all musicians.”

Keychange is a pioneering European initiative which is empowering women to transform the future of the music industry. 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.

A number of artists have also backed the campaign.

“I remain utterly outraged by the depressing statistics surrounding female representation in every aspect of the global music business,” said Garbage’s Shirley Manson. “I am exceedingly grateful to the PRS Foundation for their initiative in trying to put this to rights for we absolutely and urgently MUST put it to rights.”

Imogen Heap commented: “Getting innovative minds together across disciplines and across borders is a fantastic way to network us into the future.”

Also backing the campaign is Nadine Shah, who said: “The statistics are sickening, the gender gap is huge, females are so poorly represented within this industry. For too long things have been out of balance and with initiatives like this the future is starting to look a lot more hopeful and fair.”


About Laura Barnes 427 Articles
Founder/Publisher of UK musical instrument industry publication MI Focus.