Women Make You Dance: Advancing Festival Lineup Representation


The post-pandemic resurgence of music and arts festivals as a force within popular culture is triggering a shift amongst festival attendees, producers, and artists. Known for its positive and eccentric nature, the festival community has become increasingly concerned with the intricacies behind these ephemeral institutions. Beyond simply admiring the final production, there is a growing desire to understand the development of these experiences, reflecting a heightened community consciousness concerned with progress, and more specifically better representing female artists in the booking of festival lineups.


The Music Industry’s Continued Struggle for Female Representation

Despite recent improvements, the music industry’s representation of women remains challenged. A study by USC’s Annenberg School reveals that across popular songs and Grammy nominees from 2012 to 2023, women accounted for 22.3% of artists, 12.8% of songwriters, and 2.8% of producers. 

Advancements in Female Festival Representation

The push for equitable representation extends to festival lineups, with campaigns like “Book More Women” advocating for balanced bookings. Positive strides have been made among eight of the top US festivals, with women making up 39.8% of artists in 2022, up from 31.9% in 2019. This year, San Francisco based festival, Outside Lands achieved a groundbreaking 51% female lineup, a notable milestone that stands as a beacon of progress throughout the industry.

US EDM Festivals: An Opportunity for Growth

While multi-genre American festivals continue to show signs of improvement each year, EDM festivals have progressed at a slower pace. Despite a meteoric rise, North American EDM festivals have work to do, booking women on 22.2% of lineups in 2021, up from an average of 16.4% from 2012-2021. European EDM festivals surpassed the US with 30.6% female lineups in 2021, further highlighting the disparity throughout the US.

Art Basel 2023: The Pursuit for Balance Continues

Art Basel, a historic hub for visual art, has transformed into a cultural powerhouse for Global Dance and House Music in the US. Originally a nexus for collected, galleries and artists, Basel now emerges as one of the most vibrant city-based music and arts festival in the world.

Launching this week, Basel boasts 13 premier events at 3 venues (Factory Town, Club Space, and Virginia Key Beach Park), hosting 133 performances. Notably, it embraces 39 female acts, reflecting a growing trend with a 31% increase over the 2021 EDM festival average of 22.2%.

With a diverse global audience of 93,000 attendees from 80 countries, Art Basel, stands as one of the most culturally rich festivals nationwide. However, despite positive strides in gender balance, the journey toward progress persists.


The Need for Continued Progress

While positives continue, challenges persist, as reflected in DJ Mag’s top 100 DJs list where only 12% are women. Unlike the Grammy’s, DJ Mag’s list, entirely fan-voted, serves as a clear warning that there’s more work to be done. The disparity between efforts to balance representation on lineups and fan votes emphasizes the collective responsibility for progress.


Introducing: Women Make You Dance

In response to these ongoing challenges, Festisia is launching a year-long campaign dedicated to spotlighting women in music and art. This effort emphasizes the collective role we play in shaping the future of the music industry and festivals more specifically as we aim to break the glass ceiling and foster a more equitable cultural landscape.

This year-long campaign kicks off this week, where we’ll publish features on four women performing during Art Basel week: Peggy Gou, TSHA, Chloe Caillet, and LP Giobbi along with incredible art celebrating them from Young & Sick. Our Fest Quest program (more info here) will center around these artists as well, providing selected applicants access to their shows to experience the magic of their craft in-person.

Stay tuned for our first artist feature on Tuesday, December 6th on Chloe Caillet before her back-to-back performance at Club Space with DJ Tennis (buy tickets here).

Check out our Women Make You Dance Playlist, curated just for you!


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