Keychange Initiative Encourages Gender Balance in Music by 2022

PRS Foundation’s Keychange initiative have brought together 45 international music festivals and conferences to make the pledge for a 50/50 gender balance across their line-ups, conferences and commissions by 2022.

This is a milestone moment for gender equality in the music industry. Keychange is a pioneering international initiative supported by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union which is empowering women to transform the future of the music industry and encouraging industry conferences and festivals to achieve or maintain a 50:50 balance by 2022.

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45 international music industry conferences and festivals including four leading Canadian events have made a pledge towards achieving or maintaining a 50/50 gender balance across their festivals by 2022 (including live line-ups, conferences and commissions). They are:

53 Degrees North (England), Aldeburgh Festival (England), Blissfields (England), Bluedot (England), Borealis (Norway), BreakOut West (Canada), By:Larm (Norway), Canadian Music Week (Canada), Cheltenham Jazz Festival (England), Cheltenham Music Festival (England), Eurosonic Noorderslag (Netherlands), FOCUS Wales (Wales), Granada Experience (Spain), Hard Working Class Heroes (Ireland), Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (England), A2IM Indie Week (USA), BBC Music Introducing Stages (UK), Katowice JazzArt Festival (Poland), Kendal Calling (England), Liverpool International Music Festival (England), Liverpool Sound City (England), Manchester Jazz Festival (England), Midem (France), Norwich Sound and Vision (England), North By North East (Canada), NYC Winter Jazzfest (USA), Off The Record (England), Oslo World (Norway), Pop-Kultur (Germany), BBC Proms (England), Roundhouse Rising (England), Spitalfields Music (England), Sŵn (Wales), Trondheim Calling (Norway), Waves Vienna (Austria), Westway LAB (Portugal), Wide Days (Scotland), Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Festival (France).

By bringing together like-minded festivals and conference programmers committed to positive action, Keychange aims to create much needed long-term change in live music and beyond.

Vanessa Reed, CEO of PRS Foundation said: We support diverse talent across every programme we run at PRS Foundation. 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. I hope that this will be the start of a more balanced industry which will result in benefits for everyone.”

Festivals are making a commitment relative to their own event, engaging with the gender balance pledge in a way that best makes sense to their programme and music genre, including through their line-ups, conference panels or commissions.

The time for a shake up in the music industry has come. The Keychange festivals are firmly at the forefront, paving the way for progress across the industry as a whole.

Alongside the festival campaign, Keychange is supporting a network of artists and innovators who are invited to international festivals to take part in a series of showcases, collaborations and a programme of creative labs. By investing in talent and collaborating with a broad range of music industry partners, Keychange aims to create a better more inclusive music industry for present and future generations.