This scheme aims to get more female performers added to festival line-ups, and we’re rooting for it

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Susan Devaney
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It’s no secret that men far outnumber women performing at music festivals, even though we can name some of the world’s top female music biz money-makers at the drop of a hat – but we still can’t see them listed in the line-ups.

Which is why Festival Republic has set up a scheme to give more women a chance to perform.

ReBalance, the 3-year programme based in Leeds, will provide the chosen female band, musician or solo artist one week’s studio recording time each month from 2018 until 2020.

The chosen women will then also perform at Festival Republic or Live Nation Festivals.

Women Make Music, a recent study carried out by the PRS Foundation, found that women represent just 16% of UK songwriters and composers, and that there is a lack of women in other roles across the industry.

And earlier this month singer Ellie Goulding publicly criticised the lack of females listed on the line-ups of music festivals on Twitter. Back in 2015 she criticised Glastonbury – one of the biggest annual festivals in the UK – for not booking more female artists.

“Something needs to be done about gender equality in the music industry. It’s a wider issue that involves us (the live industry) but the solution doesn’t rest only with us. I have decided to be proactive in changing and working towards this no longer being an issue in the future, and that’s what this project is about,” said Melvin Benn, MD Festival Republic.

“There is a significant lack of female acts with recording contracts, and indeed airplay – it’s quite astonishing.”

A panel – made up of Melvin Benn (MD of Festival Republic), Vanessa Reed (Chief Executive of PRS Foundation) and Lucy Wood (Festival Republic, Talent Booker) and more – will pick the female performers.

An apprenticeship scheme is also to be launched to encourage female studio and production engineers.

"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,” said Vanessa Reed, CEO of PRS Foundation.

“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.

The women will get travel and accommodation support.

All applicants must be based in the UK.