Festival Republic launch scheme to get more female festival headliners

female festival headliners

Festival Republic has launched a new scheme to get more female festival headliners.

The ReBalance programme is pioneering, three year initiative, which will provide one week’s studio recording time to a female artist or band each month in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Alongside the studio time, successful applicants will also be provided with accommodation and travel. At the end of the year, the artists will have a slot at a Festival Republic or Live Nation Festival.

A recent study, conducted by PRS Foundation, found that women represent just 16 per cent of UK songwriters and composers. Throughout this year, Ariana Grande has been the only female solo artist to gain a UK no.1.

The report also found that many sectors within the music industry severely lack female representation, with engineering being viewed as “almost entirely male ‘closed shop.”

The ReBalance programme hopes to respond to lack of women by supporting both artists and up and coming female engineers.

As part of the ReBalance programme, Festival Republic is also supporting women who want to work in sound engineering and production by offering studio apprenticeships.

The aim of the project is to strengthen the talent pipeline and progression routes for female artists and engineers.

A selection panel made up of industry experts will decide the successful artists and engineers.

Speaking about the initiative, Melvin Benn, MD Festival Republic 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.”

Benn continued, “There is a significant lack of female acts with recording contracts, and indeed airplay – it’s quite astonishing.”

“Artists like Maggie Rogers, Halsey, Zara Larsson, and Ray BLK are all playing festivals and succeeding in the music industry, so in that respect there has been a surge comparably to previous years – but all these artists have a very mainstream presence.”

“Mainstream pop doesn’t seem to have an issue, but the festival environment caters for all genres, hence this being a wider problem.”

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 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.”

Alison Simpson
About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.

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