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BBC Proms and Great Escape festival pledge 50/50 gender equality

Story by Jack Foley

BBC Proms and Brighton’s Great Escape festival are among 45 events pledged to achieve a 50/50 gender balance by 2022.

The Cheltenham Jazz Festival and Liverpool Sound City are also among those who have agreed to put an end to hosting male-dominated line-ups.

The commitment to gender equality was drawn up by Keychange and the PRS Foundation, with the aim of creating a “better, more inclusive music industry for present and future generations”.

It follows widespread criticism of several festivals last year that proved to be male dominated, with London’s The Wireless festival, in particular, highlighted as a bad example of equality after announcing an initial line-up that featured just three women.

A BBC study has since revealed that 80% of festival headliners last year were male.

Commenting on the push for equality, Vanessa Reed, CEO of the PRS Foundation said: “Last year, on average, women made up 26% of the festival line-ups in the UK, so we’re talking about doubling that in a five-year timeframe. That’s quite ambitious but it’s achievable.”

The pledge has also been adopted by BBC Music Introducing, which hosts stages for new artists at festivals including Glastonbury and Reading & Leeds.

However, neither of those festivals have yet to sign the pledge on a wider scale – although there is no Glastonbury event this year (2018).