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Warpaint Bluedot Cheshire July 2017 Mike Hughes15

45 international festivals targeting 50/50 gender balance by 2022

26 February 2018, 15:36 | Written by Laurence Day

A huge list of festivals have pledged to have a 50/50 gender balance by 2022 as part of the PRS Foundation’s International Keychange initiative.

45 major festivals and showcases from across Europe and Canada have pledged to hit the target across their events - and not just on the music lineup itself, with conferences and commissions also taken into account.

"We support diverse talent across every programme we run at PRS Foundation," says CEO Vanessa Reed. "40% of our grantees in 2017 were from a BAME background and 53% 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."

"The Keychange network of female artists and industry professionals and the festival partners’ idea of establishing a collective pledge will significantly accelerate change," Reed adds. "I hope that this will be the start of a more balanced industry which will result in benefits for everyone."

Blissfields, Bluedot, by:Larm, Eurosonic Noorderslag, FOCUS Wales, Kendal Calling, Liverpool Sound City, Pop-Kultur, BBC Proms and Introducing stages, Roundhouse Rising, Sŵn, Trondheim Calling, and lots more are making the pledge, joining Keychange founding festival partners Reeperbahm, BIME, Iceland Airwaves, Way Out West, Musikcentrum Sweden, Tallinn Music Week, MUTEK, and The Great Escape.

Major festivals - such as Glastonbury and Reading and Leeds - have not joined the pledge, although Festival Republic boss Melvin Benn has told the BBC: "I do support the principle of it [gender equality]. I've chosen a slightly different way to go about it, but with the same principal aim."

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