LEEDS (CelebrityAccess) Leeds Festival organizer Melvin Benn is sceptical about a new initiative trying to get a 50/50 gender balance at festivals.
Last week a total of 45 music industry conferences and festivals have pledged to tackle gender equality in line with PRS For Music Foundation’s Keychange initiative, a scheme encouraging industry conferences and festivals to achieve or maintain a 50:50 gender balance in lineups by 2022.
Among those backing the initiative, which is supported by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union, are Canadian Music Week, By:Larm and Eurosonic Noorderslag, along with 20 UK events: 53 Degrees North; Aldeburgh Festival; Blissfields; Bluedot; Cheltenham Jazz Festival; Cheltenham Music Festival; Focus Wales; Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival; BBC Music Introducing Stages; Kendal Calling; Liverpool International Music Festival; Liverpool Sound City; Manchester Jazz Festival; Norwich Sound and Vision; Off The Record; BBC Proms; Roundhouse Rising; Spitalfields Music; Swn and Wide Days.
The move comes amid continued controversies around male-dominated festival lineups. Last year, a BBC study of 14 major UK festivals for the past decade found out of 660 headliners, only 37 were all-female acts.
In an interview with the BBC, Benn, from Festival Republic, who organize some of Europe’s biggest festivals, said event bills should be reflective of what people are listening to.
Benn said: “Is that the right way to go about it – to say it’s got to be 50/50? I don’t know that it is.”
This year’s Leeds’ event, taking place at Bramham Park, between August 24 and 26, will be headlined by Kings of Leon, Kendrick Lamar, Fall Out Boy and Panic! at The Disco.