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We are only 25%. FACTS – 2020

Sólo el 25% de todas las presentaciones en festivales son realizados por mujeres, en comparación con el 65% de presentaciones masculinas. | Only 25% of all acts are female in comparison to 65% male acts.

Living what you love is difficult. Working in the field of sound experimentation in electronic music is difficult. Being a woman and living what you love is doubly problematic.

Since 2013, the Female: Pressure collective has carried out the FACTS survey that addresses and quantifies the deficit in equal opportunities and visibility for female artists in the electronic music scene (including some experimental / electronic music festivals) mainly in Europe and North America.

The data requested from this survey: FACTS, are published in commemoration of World Women’s Day every March 8 in 2013 – 2015 – 2017 – 2019.

During these eight years, data have been collected about the growth of female performances within festivals. Now we have data about the visibility of which women workers are part of this field, which until 2013 we didn’t have.

Now we can compare and say openly that although the numbers have been growing but these numbers are still significantly lower than expected.

In-depth analysis of the content of this survey is important to understand where we are. The efforts that need to be made together so that the data really changes significantly.

Let’s not forget that these data belong to places where the greatest amount of this type of festival is held (Europe and North America) and there are no data from other regions.

Undoubtedly there is a different way of listening given by each of the genders, by our sexualities, a much broader way of listening that enriches the perceptions and understanding of a physical phenomenon as unique as sound.

HECHOS | FACTS

Diagrama tomado de FACTS 2020 | Diagram by FACTS 2020

The first figure in the diagram represents data between 2012 and 2019.

In this period, only 17.3% of festival performances are women, 74.0% are men, 6.9% are mixed acts and 1.5% are not identified (that is, presentations in which could not identify gender).

The second figure in the diagram represents data collected during 2017 and 2019 in this period where more festivals were added for the analysis.

In this period, only 17.3% of festival performances are women, 74.0% are men, 6.9% are mixed acts and 1.5% are not identified (that is, presentations in which could not identify gender).

Which makes it clear that although the percentages from 2012 to 2019 increased, these data are not even remotely high enough as they should be.

We see a steady increase in female acts at electronic music festivals in the last eight years. However, only 25% of all acts are women compared to 65% of male acts.

FACTS
Diagrama tomado de FACTS 2020 | Diagram taken from FACTS 2020

Gender ratios seem quite different when compared between countries. For example, from 2012 to 2019, festivals in Russia and Mexico have the lowest percentages of female acts (less than 11%), while festivals in Sweden and Austria have the highest percentage (more than 20%). It shows the proportions of feminine, non-binary, masculine, mixed and unidentified acts by country from 2012 to 2019 (only for countries with ten or more festival editions in 2012 to 2019).

FACTS

When we talk about numbers regarding work teams, organizers, curators and workers, the numbers don’t change.

Diagrama tomado de FACTS 2020 | Diagram taken from FACTS 2020

Top ten of the festivals with the highest proportion of female performance in 2019

Diagrama tomado de FACTS 2020 | Diagram taken from FACTS 2020

Electronic music festivals, at least in Europe and North America, are overwhelmingly dominated by white artists. This is particularly worrying, since electronic dance music has its origin in black and Latin culture. Without these DJs, artists and avant-garde color audiences, today we wouldn’t even have the theme of our studio. We are very interested in surveys that analyze the total number of people of color invited to play at these festivals, and the representation of female and non-binary color artists specifically.

It would be interesting to know if female and non-binary artists are generally reserved in «smaller» slots. It would be difficult to quantify this data, but perhaps a recount of the genre of the leading artists would shed some light on this subject.

FACTS

Suggestions for festival organizers, artistic directors.

  • Believe in a multifaceted and heterogeneous electronic music scene. Strive for a less capitalist approach for your listeners supporting a more presentation-oriented musical culture.
  • Book more people of different genres. Reserve more people of color. If you think they are not familiar with your audience and / or will not bring enough money, use your resources to invest in good press work and consider installing local / underground scenarios and promoting a general spirit of inclusion in your events.
  • Make contacts and collaborate with booking agencies that have varied lists and inform and / or connect with festivals around the world that have different lists. Find out about creation spaces and workshops that serve areas that are underrepresented in music production and skills. These types of community spaces have important knowledge to share.
  • At the organizational level, install a mixed gender team to schedule the alignment of your festival.
  • If you are interested in having a diverse background that reflects the state of the art in electronic music, you can take steps such as making a public call for participation and specifically making diverse representation a selection criterion.
  • Be intentional and transparent about your inclusion goals.
  • Support your local underground scene by connecting with record distributors and music journalists who are experts in the field.
  • If you have the capacity, include discussion and skill exchange programs to promote diversity and inclusion in the electronic music industry.
  • Organize workshops on topics such as music production, team selection, music promotion and other musical business skills. By facilitating skills exchange workshops, you can foster a community where budding artists can connect with each other and with the scene. You can even cultivate the skills of artists who can play at your festival in the future.
  • We believe that the relationship between artists and promoters of the festival will change for the better as a result. Workshops and debates can be financed in several ways, from ticket sales to donations.
  • Ensure safe and responsible working conditions in your festival by training staff in sensitivity and cultural inclusion, so that all artists are treated with respect, regardless of race or gender.
  • Consider the details that are often overlooked, such as cooperative and safe child care for artists’ families and staff and gender-neutral health facilities.
  • We would like to see the widespread adoption of a «Code of Conduct», a guide for best practices at festivals to accommodate the social and cultural implications of their programs, advertising and publications, at electronic music festivals. We believe that it never is and has never been «just about music.» Festivals have interests such as: obtaining fame or relevance, having economic success or promoting particular «agendas» – often of personal importance – such as the advancement of a genre or a political worldview, among others. A good example of this code was published in 2018 by We Have a Voice.

Suggestions for artists.

  • Connect with local and / or global networks and look for resources for female and non-binary artists, many of which are listed on the female: pressure website
  • To artists in positions of relative cultural power, particularly white cis-men, we applaud those of you who have shown solidarity with your female and non-binary colleagues by boycotting the festivals when there are no diverse and inclusive alignments! We believe that strategies such as these are effective in making promoters and curators question their policies!

It is interesting to read the full survey to understand the global landscape that workers in this area are going through.
Understanding the underlying problem will help us find strategies to change it.

Link to the full survey FACTS 2020

Thanks to the entire Female: Pressure collaborative team that made this data possible.


Author: Sol Rezza
Editor : Franco Falistoco
@ 2019

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