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Thu, 2 July 2015

listen out dance and electronic fest

Filed under: Dance Party, electronic music, Dance — site admin @ 9:47 am

listen out dance festival 26.9.2015
Catani Gardens St.Kilda
When it comes to representing women, it’s been a bad year for music festivals. DJ and LISTEN member Jo Eaton calls out the latest offender, national dance and electronic festival, Listen Out.

Of the 17 acts announced on the line-up for Listen Out festival, only one, Alison Wonderland, is female. In its announcement yesterday event promoter, Novel Tours, also slung in a homophobic remark. “When done correctly and at the right place,” ran its promo material, “Dance can: attract the opposite sex…”

Thus far, 2015 has seen experimental electronic festival, Unsound Adelaide fail - for the second consecutive year - to schedule any women on its original 3-day line-up, though a late cancellation saw women added to the bill. Vivid Festival didn’t do much better. Overseas, the situation is the same. Music blog, Crack In The Road, posted images of festival posters with the male bands edited out to starkly show the imbalance and this week The Guardian has presented the statistics.

LISTEN is a local collective that exists to spark and cultivate a conversation around women’s experiences in all genres of Australian music. Since its formation a year ago, the issue of women’s underrepresentation on festival line-ups has seen LISTEN’s Facebook group come alive with posts. The group is not contained to ranting online, however. Members are lobbying for safer venue policies for female and LGBTQ staff and gig-goers, making printed publications encouraging women-centric dialogue and creating a record label devoted to promoting gender diversity in music.To address the lack of women in gig line-ups, LISTEN also organises regular ‘Listening Parties’ featuring female-identified musicians.

“There are so many incredible female electronic musicians performing live these days,” says LISTEN member and Melbourne-based DJ of 7 years, Katie Pearson, AKA Whiskey Houston. “Bookers and promoters need to let go of their archaic and ill-informed concerns that booking lesser-known artists on a festival bill is going to affect ticket sales. Meredith and Splendour in the Grass are proving that a diverse line-up can still sell out a festival the day tickets go on sale.”

When we at LISTEN take the time to write to festival organisers about our concerns, we are often brushed off with excuses and empty claims that they are trying to be diverse, rather than apologies and promises to do better next time.

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