August 2017


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For the past eight months I have worked with several wonderful women as a collective on creating female:pressure’s FACTS 2017 survey. Some quick background:

  • female:pressure is an international network of female, transgender and non-binary artists in the fields of electronic music and digital arts founded by Susanne Kirchmayr, aka Electric Indigo.
  • The first f:p FACTS survey was created in 2013, and has taken place every two years since then. The goal of the survey is to count how many female, male, and mixed acts are programmed at electronic music festivals (mixed acts are acts that contain both female and male members).
  • The 2017 edition of FACTS was presented at the Pop-Kultur festival in Berlin on August 25th, 2017, and its scope is the largest yet. You can read more background in the Introduction to the survey, examine our Methods, review our Results, read through our Discussion, and get more info on who participated (there are also three appendices).

Working on FACTS 2017 was both exhilarating and depressing. Exhilarating because of the women I got to connect with (our Skype meetings were particularly fruitful) and depressing because, as I counted festival after festival, it became clear just how MANY men get programmed on festival line-ups, and how FEW women get that same opportunity. It was something I knew already going into this work, but having to tick “male” over and over and OVER again as I counted the line-ups made me feel quite grim.

Before joining the female:pressure network I knew that the lack of women getting stage-time wasn’t for lack of women performers. I’ve been covering various music scenes—significantly, at the underground and/or small-to-medium venue level—since 2008 and encountered just as many women creators and performers as I did men. However, since joining f:p I now know that the ONLY reason women don’t get the highly visible festival dates is because festival organizers are simply sexist.

Through the f:p network, hundreds of women share their new releases, their new videos, their latest gigs (usually at smaller venues) with all the other members-—women are creating SO MUCH electronic music and putting it out into the world every single day—and f:p is just one of many such networks out there. What excuse, then, can festival organizers have for the lack of parity in their line-ups? The message is clear: Electronic music festivals don’t care about women DJs and producers.

So here is my call for anyone who programs music, whether you’re programming an electronic music festival or an indie show or a one-off avant-garde concert: Make sure your program contains 50% women creators. Go ahead and swallow back all those excuses (“there aren’t enough women!” [yes, there are] “programming women will bring in less money!” [completely untrue] “you’re taking away opportunities from white men!” [please just stop]) and program more women. I know you can do it. And while you’re at it, please make sure you’re programming people of color, too. Understand that the reason, the ONLY reason, that festival line-ups are *dominated* by white male creators is because the system lifts them up (often without them even realizing it) while completely ignoring everyone else. You are part of the system, and you can make a change for good.

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I’ve been listening to Hannah Kendall’s music lately. Here are a couple current faves: