“Everything is male dominated. We do live in a patriarchy and that’s exactly what rock music is,” explains Muncie Girls‘ Lande Hekt in an interview with Sky News.
“It’s such a male dominated place, whether its the sense of humour or the kind of lifestyle of being on tour, everything is modeled around the convenience of men. Trying to exist in that world as a woman can be difficult and overwhelming. It can be off-putting as well for a lot of girls trying to get into it.”
And it’s something Festival Republic (the company behind Reading & Leeds) are finally doing something about. Backed by the PRS Foundation, they’re launching ReBalance, a program out to encourage and give opportunities to women in music. These include recording time, slots at festivals as well as studio apprenticeships in sound engineering and production.
“Artists and engineers will be nominated by industry experts (labels, managers, streaming services, publishers, promoters, agents, journalists, etc.) who will be invited by Festival Republic and PRS Foundation to nominate their choices. A selection panel will then shortlist and select the successful artists and engineers from this nominated shortlist. The selection panel will change over the year in line with availability and demand,” according to the press release.
Vanessa Reed, CEO of the PRS Foundation explains, “The evaluation of our Women Make Music fund highlighted the ongoing challenges for female artists whilst also drawing attention to the lack of women working in other industry roles including the recording studio. Low representation of women in these aspects of the creative process is an obstacle for female artists as well young women who are considering a career in music production.
“I’m delighted that Festival Republic are responding to this by offering new opportunities which will support female artists alongside younger women who want to develop skills in music production and sound engineering. I’m also pleased that this is happening in Leeds, acknowledging the importance of promoting infrastructure and opportunities for talent development outside of London.
“We look forward to helping Festival Republic to deliver this important and exciting programme and to following the results of the monthly studio sessions planned. We need more male leaders like Melvin Benn to recognise the ongoing gender gap in music and to use their position to do something about it. Coming up with campaigns and initiatives like ReBalance, will ultimately strengthen our industry and be of benefit to us all.”