Time’s up for male­dom­i­nated live mu­sic

To mark her first AMP Sounds fes­ti­val, DJ An­nie Mac asks why live mu­sic is still so lack­ing in women

Grazia (UK) - - Contents -

LAST WEEK, the t Wire­less Fes­ti­val an­nounced its line-up. li Of the 39 names, only on ly three were fe­male. fe On the Satur­day, there th e were no wo women on the line-up at all.

I am m in­cred­u­lous. in­cred Hav­ing cu­rated my own live shows for the past decade, I know it can be dif­fi­cult to achieve an equal gen­der bal­ance. But it’s re­ally quite some­thing for not even one of the Wire­less book­ers to pipe up and say, ‘Lads, maybe we should get a few more fe­male names on there.’

It’s not just Wire­less, of course. Mu­sic fes­ti­vals have al­ways been heinously lack­ing in women. I have been Djing for 12 years, start­ing out as the lone wo­man on all-male line-ups. I’ve been in ex­cru­ci­at­ing sit­u­a­tions, Djing sur­rounded by half-naked women on podi­ums. It took me years to pluck up the courage to tell pro­mot­ers that I didn’t like the mes­sage it gave out. That if they (and it was al­ways a man) could get some scant­ily clad blokes up there too, it would make me feel a lot less un­com­fort­able. Now, at last, things are start­ing to change. The #Metoo and #Timesup cam­paigns are huge global news. All the more rea­son why I was shocked that, in 2018, the book­ers of a fes­ti­val as huge and cul­tur­ally im­por­tant as Wire­less were not think­ing about us at all.

Then last week’s Gram­mys hap­pened. Of the eight awards pre­sented on air, only one ( Best New Artist, Alessia Cara) went to a wo­man. And the only Best Al­bum nom­i­nee not in­vited to per­form live at the cer­e­mony was the only fe­male nom­i­nee, Lorde. Gram­mys pres­i­dent Neil Port­now claimed that women need to ‘step up’ to be bet­ter rep­re­sented. Pink fu­ri­ously wrote an open let­ter to all the women who step up ev­ery sin­gle day. I would like to see Port­now make his com­ments to Bey­oncé’s face. The prob­lem is not that women need to ‘step up’, it’s that the mu­sic in­dus­try is in­her­ently skewed to favour men. All the ma­jor record la­bels are run by men. All the ma­jor fes­ti­vals (with the ex­cep­tion of Glas­ton­bury and Emily Eavis) are booked by men. Ac­cord­ing to the Bill­board 100 Power List for 2018, there is just one wo­man in the top 25 most pow­er­ful peo­ple in mu­sic: Uni­ver­sal Mu­sic Pub­lish­ing Group (UMPG) boss Jody Ger­son. We need a lot more Jody Ger­sons. We need to be in the board­rooms mak­ing the big de­ci­sions. We need to OWN pub­lish­ing com­pa­nies, pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies, record la­bels.

I’ve lis­tened to the ra­dio all my life, but it wasn’t un­til I heard Mary Anne Hobbes and Sara Cox on Ra­dio 1 that I as­pired to be a broad­caster. As the say­ing goes: you can’t be what you can’t see. When I took over Zane Lowe’s new mu­sic slot as the first ever solo wo­man to present that show, the lis­ten­ing fig­ures didn’t plum­met – in fact, they bal­anced out in terms of gen­der.

I feel it when I DJ at fes­ti­vals – the front rows are al­ways filled with girls. The gui­tar com­pany Fender re­ported that, in 2016, over 50% of their new sales were to women. All those young girls with guitars!

So let’s keep speak­ing out and push­ing for­ward the new wave… in the words of the leg­endary Patti Smith: ‘ The peo­ple have the power’ – and we ladies aren’t go­ing any­where.

AMP Sounds: 9 shows through­out gh Feb­ru­ary; visit an­niemacp­re­sents.com macpr for tick­ets k ts and info in

Be­low: Grammy win­ner Alessia Cara, and UMPG boss Jody Ger­son

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