Led by PRS Foundation, 45 festivals and conferences have agreed to work towards a 50/50 balance of gender representation at their music events. PRS Foundation’s International Keychange initiative, “which is empowering women to transform the future of the music industry,” will host members of the music industry at the Canadian High Commission this evening to celebrate their journey to decreasing the gender gap.

The 45 events signed on to the pledge include festivals, conferences, and commissions such as Midem in France, BBC Music Introducing Stages in the UK, Granada Experience in Spain, Canadian Music Week, Eurosonic Noorderslag in The Netherlands, Oslo World in Norway, and NYC Jazz Fest in the United States.


“The focus for this year’s Granada Experience is ‘Women in the Arts’, so our involvement with Keychange is entirely fitting. We are delighted to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with so many fantastic European events to promote the initiative’s mission and values,” said Pepe Rodriguez of Granada Experience in a statement.

Today’s celebration follows the gender balance commitment proposed by Keychange’s founding festival partners which are Reeperbahn Festival (Germany), BIME (Spain), Iceland Airwaves, Way Out West (Sweden), Musikcentrum Sweden, Tallinn Music Week (Estonia), MUTEK (Canada) and The Great Escape (UK).

By bringing together like-minded festivals and conference programmers committed to positive action, Keychange aims to create much needed long-term change in live music and beyond. In addition to creating equality on lineups, panels, and on commissions, Keychange hosts its own events at musical spaces to help foster dialogue about the best way to bring diverse voices to the forefront of the industry.

“Our focus on gender equality in 2018 aligns with the centenary for some women being given the vote in the UK. 100 years on, the push for gender parity across society continues and with increased public awareness of inequalities across the creative industries we have an opportunity to respond and commit to tangible change in music,” said Vanessa Reed, CEO of PRS Foundation in a release. “The Keychange network of female artists and industry professionals and the festival partners’ idea of establishing a collective pledge will significantly accelerate change.”

Started in September of 2017, the Keychange program has included a series of popular panels and showcases at Reeperbahn Festival, BIME, Iceland Airwaves and most recently Eurosonic to explore how men and women can work together to accelerate change and to promote role models for the next generations. High profile ambassadors of Keychange include Shirley Manson, legendary producer Tony Visconti, Madrid’s indie rockers Hinds, German singer-songwriter Alexa Feser, Publisher Paulette Long OBE and more.

Keychange is led by PRS Foundation, supported by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union, in partnership with Musikcentrum Sweden, Reeperbahn Festival, Iceland Airwaves, BIME, Tallinn Music Week, Way Out West, The Great Escape and MUTEK.

It will include, later this year, an event in Brussels at the European Parliament, at which Keychange partners will present a manifesto based on contributions from Keychange participants, partners and associate festivals.

For more information on Keychange and their initiatives and events, head here.

The 45 events involved include: 53 Degrees North (England), Aldeburgh Festival (England), Blissfields (England), Bluedot (England), Borealis (Norway), BreakOut West (Canada), By:Larm (Norway), Canadian Music Week (Canada), Cheltenham Jazz Festival (England), Cheltenham Music Festival (England), Eurosonic Noorderslag (Netherlands), FOCUS Wales (Wales), Granada Experience (Spain), Hard Working Class Heroes (Ireland), Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (England), A2IM Indie Week (USA), BBC Music Introducing Stages (UK), Katowice JazzArt Festival (Poland), Kendal Calling (England), Liverpool International Music Festival (England), Liverpool Sound City (England), Manchester Jazz Festival (England), Midem (France), Norwich Sound and Vision (England), North By North East (Canada), NYC Winter Jazzfest (USA), Off The Record (England), Oslo World (Norway), Pop-Kultur (Germany), BBC Proms (England), Roundhouse Rising (England), Spitalfields Music (England), Swn (Wales), Trondheim Calling (Norway), Waves Vienna (Austria), Westway LAB (Portugal), Wide Days (Scotland), Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Festival (France).