Marsden Jazz Festival smashes 50:50 gender equality target!
11 June 2019
In April this year, Marsden Jazz Festival signed a pledge with Keychange PRS Foundation, committing to achieve a 50:50 gender balance in our festival by 2022, and we’re proud to say that we’ve already hit that target!
What is Keychange?
Keychange PRS Foundation is a pioneering international initiative which transforms the future of music whilst encouraging festivals and music organisations to achieve a 50:50 gender balance by 2022. The work that Keychange have done on promoting gender equality in music is game-changing for the industry, and the initiative has had a global impact, with many of the UK’s music events pledging their intention to achieve a 50:50 gender balance by 2020.
Understandably, Keychange was a movement that Marsden Jazz Festival was keen to join, as we have always had strong values surrounding equality and diversity in all areas of the festival.
Barney, artistic director for Marsden Jazz Festival said: “jazz and improvised music is a living art form, so it makes total sense that our programme should reflect society as a whole. We are proud to champion some incredible female artists and help inspire the next generation”.
How we’ve already achieved the target . . .
As part of the sign up process, we looked back over the statistics for artists and gigs at the 2018 festival and were delighted to see that we had already achieved a 50:50 gender balance as per the guidelines from Keychange. The guidelines said that 50% of the gigs we programme should contain at least 1 female/non-binary/transgender artist.
Marsden Jazz Festival had 54% in 2018, featuring artists such as Entropi, Polly Gibbons, Jasmine, TAPP, Dani Sicari and the Easy Rollers, SAWA, and many groups, bands, and choirs which had female members. Furthermore, for many years, we have also achieved a 50:50 gender balance in our audience figures.
We’re currently doing some research into previous festivals to see if previous years have also achieved a 50:50 split and we will update this news item once the research is complete.
But there’s more we want to do!
However, we want to take this pledge one step further. By 2020, we are aiming to have at least 50% of the gigs we programme to be led by a female/transgender/non-identifying artist.
Richard Whitelaw, chair of trustees for Marsden Jazz Festival said: “I’m really proud of our festival’s artistic programming and the high value it places on equality of gender representation. However, there is still much work to do to make the arts in the UK more broadly representative. In some of this work we can lead, in some of it we will need to follow, and learn from our partners and artists. This can only make our festival and programme more vibrant and successful.”
We are currently in the midst of programming the 2019 festival (we promise, gig announcements and tickets are coming soon!) and we already have some incredible female-fronted gigs booked!
All of us at Marsden Jazz Festival are thrilled to be part of the Keychange initiative and are proud to be supporting equality and diversity of all kinds through our festival.