By Hannah Morgan, Co-founder, UpSideDown Festival
It seems somehow fitting to be writing this on International Women’s Day, and after a two week period in which my husband has copped a frankly ridiculous amount of flack for pointing out that a number of festivals his music website covers have a depressingly high percentage of men on their line-ups: 89% on average, with some reaching the dizzy heights of 97%.
There need to be more women on festival line-ups. Very few people seem to be denying this fact, but no one wants to take any responsibility for doing anything about it. Women don’t sell tickets, women aren’t available, women don’t make the right sort of music, women aren’t good enough to headline – these are all common refrains. Given the long history of women being oppressed and marginalised across all areas of society, on the one hand I guess it’s not surprising that women are being blamed for the lack of women at festivals, but my god it’s depressing.
At UpSideDown, we’re doing things differently. We’re a brand new small festival taking place in July, and we’ve pledged to have a balanced line-up from year one. We’re also aiming to extend that across the behind the scenes staff such as stage managers, sound engineers and security.
With the vast majority of our line-up announced, 25% of our acts are all-female and a further 45% are mixed. They span a whole range of styles from singer-songwriter, folk, anti-folk, punk, electro, pop, trance and techno. We’ve achieved this by actively encouraging women to apply, browsing female-focussed sites such as Loud Women and Women’s Music News, and asking male musicians and promoters we know to recommend female acts. It really hasn’t been that difficult.
UpSideDown is taking place on 26 and 27 July at Shaken Oak Farm in Oxfordshire. Tickets are just £52 (incl booking fee) and that gets you three nights of camping, two days of music across two stages, free parking, and an awesome, friendly, inclusive community. Come and join us and watch a whole load of incredible women turn your world upside-down.
Hannah Morgan is a long-time festival goer who is never happier than when she’s in a field listening to music. She plays violin in Rumour Cubes and makes websites as Make a Spectacle. In 2011 she received the IMPALA Outstanding Contribution Award for her work with Label Love.