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Festivals newly committed to PRS Foundation’s Keychange pledge include MaMA Festival (France), Jazzfest Berlin (Germany), Africa Oyé (UK), Oxjam Camden (UK) and more

New York’s A2IM Indie Music Week promote Keychange in the US with panel discussion and showcase

Vanessa Reed, CEO of PRS Foundation appeared live on CNN on Friday to announce that PRS Foundation’s Keychange initiative has now encouraged a total of 100 festivals worldwide to commit to a 50/50 gender balance by 2022 (across live line-ups, conferences and commissions)


A2IM Indie Week promoting Keychange in US

PRS Foundation also hosted a Keychange panel at A2IM Indie Music Week in New York to discuss how the programme is empowering female artists and industry professionals to play a bigger role in music whilst encouraging music festivals to diversify their music stages by 2022. The panel was chaired by Vanessa Reed (CEO, PRS Foundation) and included Marina Adam (Manager, Ontario Music Office), Leah Fischman (Board Chair, Annenberg Inclusion Initiative), Alexandra Rosen (Senior Manager – Communications, A2IM) and Alex Schulz (Founder, Reeperbahn Festival). 

Vanessa Reed, CEO of PRS Foundation, said: “We’re thrilled that just 9 months after the launch of Keychange, over 100 festivals have now pledged to reach a 50-50 gender balance by 2022. It’s also important that this initiative is now being debated in the US where A2IM Indie Music Week hosted a Keychange discussion involving our partners from Canada and Reeperbahn Festival. I hope this milestone will encourage others to join in with this positive and increasingly popular movement for change.”

Richard James Burgess, CEO A2IM (American Association of Independent Music), said: “We just completed our A2IM Indie Week conference and our A2IM Libera Awards: both were gender balanced. In fact, we had 56% women panellists and five of the seven acts were woman led. Keychange is an inspirational initiative that A2IM is delighted to collaborate with. Congratulations to Vanessa and the Keychange team on achieving the milestone 100 events number; next stop 1000.”

New festivals signed up to the Keychange pledge include (click here for full list)

Africa Oyé (UK) / AmericanaFest UK / Be Fresh Festival (Spain) / Big Scary Monsters Big Day Out (UK) / English Folk Expo (UK) / Festival 20/21 (Belgium) / Field Maneuvers (UK) / Head For The Hills (UK) / Indie Sweden Music Festival (Sweden) / Jazzfest Berlin (Germany) / LungA Art Festival (Iceland) / MaMA Festival (France) / Monkey Week (Spain) / Music Cities Convention (Global) / Music Cities Forum (Global) / Music Cities Hackathon (Global) / Music Tourism Convention (Global) / No Ar Coquetel Molotov (Brazil) / Oxjam Camden (UK) / The Phillips Backyard Weekender (Canada) / Rifflandia Festival (Canada) / Rio Loco (France) / Rock The Shores (Canada) / Sound Development (Global)

This follows the gender balance commitment previously made by 85 international festivals, including existing Keychange partners Reeperbahn Festival (Germany), BIME (Spain), Iceland Airwaves, Way Out West (Sweden), Musikcentrum Sweden, Tallinn Music Week (Estonia), and MUTEK (Canada) and Liverpool Sound City (UK). For more information on Keychange please visit here.

On joining the pledge, Fernando Ladeiro-Marques of MaMA Festival & Convention said: The major social transformation of the last hundred years, is the emancipation of women and their place in society. However, it is a revolution that is largely invisible, unfinished and struggling with multiple inertia. The new frontier of women’s emancipation requires better reconciliation between family life and professional life of which the music industry is not exempt. Not only in their interest, but also in the whole society. Because this is how women can continue to change the world. MaMA Festival & Convention is proud to be involved in the Keychange.”

Paul Duhaney, Artistic Director, Africa Oye, said: “Women are still facing more challenges than most in the African music industry, largely because of long-standing cultural practices in many countries that hold them back from making a career in the arts. Thankfully we’re slowly seeing that start to change and we’re proud here at Africa Oye to shine a light on female artists from the continent and hopefully inspire the next generation to follow in their footsteps.”

Hilmar Guðjónsson, LungA Iceland, added: “We at LungA art festival are extremely proud of being able to call ourselves one of the Keychange family. The initiative embodies what we at LungA believe in, that all creations should have space and not disappear into the shadows of a world created by patriarchy. All art should be embraced for what it is, no matter what gender, social status, race or any categorisation it may be created within.”

On the plethora of female talent out there, Maarten Beirens, General Director, Festival 20/21, commented: “On a daily basis, I find myself surrounded by a strong and versatile generation of women artists – and particularly composers – ready to actually take the lead in their fields. In the previous years, female composers have already had a considerable share in Festival 20/21’s programming. By joining Keychange, we aim to make these efforts structural and bring talent of all genders into the festival’s spotlights.”

David Agnew, Festival Director, Head For The Hills added Head For The Hills is proud to join the Keychange pledge recognising the value of a diverse programme in exciting audiences and improving our festival. Our commitment to creating a welcoming and open environment permeates the organisation from our trustees to our audiences, which is only possible with a programme which reflects our immediate communities.”

Keychange, which continues to spark international debate, was kickstarted in February with 45 international music industry conferences and festivals making e a pledge towards achieving or maintaining a 50/50 gender balance across their festivals by 2022. This was followed by an event at Liverpool Sound City in May to announce a further 40 festivals had joined the Keychange pledge.

Festivals are making a commitment relative to their own event, engaging with the gender balance pledge in a way that best makes sense to their programme and music genre, including through line-ups, conference panels or commissions.

To date, the Keychange programme has included a series of popular panels and showcases at Reeperbahn Festival, BIME, Iceland Airwaves, Eurosonic, Spot Festival, Canadian Music Week, Midem, Tallinn Music Week – where Keychange brought together all of the 60-strong network of Keychange artists and innovators from across Europe – Liverpool Sound City and more. Most recently Keychange appeared at A2IM Indie Music Week, signalling the first panel and showcase in the US.

These panels have featured leading men and women including Garbage’s Shirley Manson, artist Nadine Shah, Reeperbahn Festival director Alex Schulz, President of Iceland Guðni Thorlacius Jóhannesson, PRS Foundation CEO Vanessa Reed and more.

About Keychange
Keychange is a pioneering international initiative supported by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union which empowers women to transform the future of the music industry and encourages festivals to achieve or maintain a 50:50 gender balance by 2022. By bringing together like-minded festivals and conference programmers committed to positive action, Keychange aims to create a much needed long-term change in live music and beyond.

Keychange is led by PRS Foundation, supported by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union, in partnership with Musikcentrum Sweden, Reeperbahn Festival, Iceland Airwaves, BIME, Tallinn Music Week, Way Out West, Liverpool Sound City and MUTEK. It will include, later this year, an event in Brussels at the European Parliament, at which Keychange partners will present a manifesto based on contributions from Keychange participants, partners and associate festivals.

Twitter: @KeychangeEU
Facebook: @KeychangeEU
Instagram: @KeychangeEU

About A2IM:
A2IM is a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit trade organization headquartered in New York City that exists to support and strengthen the independent recorded music sector. Membership currently includes a broad coalition of more than 700 Independently-owned American music labels. A2IM represents these independently owned small and medium-sized enterprises’ (SMEs) interests in the marketplace, in the media, on Capitol Hill, and as part of the global music community. In doing so, it supports a key segment of America’s creative class that represents America’s diverse musical cultural heritage. Billboard Magazine identified the Independent music label sector as 37.32 percent of the music industry’s U.S. recorded music sales market in 2016 based on copyright ownership, making Independent labels collectively the largest music industry sector.

Learn more about A2IM here.
For information about how to join our community, see here.