Belfast Telegraph

BBC Proms among 45 festivals committing to 50/50 gender balance

They are joined in the pledge by other music events around the world.

BBC Proms and BBC Music Introducing Stages are among the 45 international music festival and conferences that have pledged to achieve or maintain a 50/50 gender balance by 2022, it has been announced.

Other UK events committing to tackling gender inequality include 53 Degrees North, Aldeburgh Festival, Blissfields, Bluedot, Cheltenham Jazz Festival and Cheltenham Music Festival.

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2013 Cheltenham Jazz Festival – Gloucestershire

Also taking part in the initiative to decrease the gender gap in music are FOCUS Wales, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Kendal Calling, Liverpool International Music Festival, Liverpool Sound City, Manchester Jazz Festival, Norwich Sound and Vision, Off The Record, Roundhouse Rising, Spitalfields Music, Swn and Wide Days.

The move was announced at music funding charity PRS Foundation’s international Keychange initiative event at the Canadian High Commission.

The initiative, which counts Glastonbury organiser Emily Eavis, singer Imogen Heap, Garbage frontwoman Shirley Manson and producer Tony Visconti among its ambassadors, aims to empower women to transform the future of the music industry.

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VO5 NME Awards 2018 – London

David Pickard, director of BBC Proms, said: “Achieving a 50/50 gender balance of contemporary composers performed at the BBC Proms is something we have been committed to for some time and consider vital to the creative development of the world’s largest classical music festival.

“We are delighted to be partnering with PRS for the Keychange initiative, a crucial statement for gender equality by the arts industry both in the UK and internationally.”

Vanessa Reed, chief executive of the PRS Foundation, said: “We support diverse talent across every programme we run at PRS Foundation. 40% of our grantees in 2017 were from a BAME background and 53% featured female artists.

“Our focus on gender equality in 2018 aligns with the centenary for some women being given the vote in the UK. 100 years on, the push for gender parity across society continues and with increased public awareness of inequalities across the creative industries we have an opportunity to respond and commit to tangible change in music.

“The Keychange network of female artists and industry professionals and the festival partners’ idea of establishing a collective pledge will significantly accelerate change.

“I hope that this will be the start of a more balanced industry which will result in benefits for everyone.”

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