Iceland Airwaves First Music Festival To Close Gender Gap - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Iceland Airwaves First Music Festival To Close Gender Gap

Iceland Airwaves First Music Festival To Close Gender Gap

Noemi Ehrat
Photos by
Art Bicnick

In a year when Beyoncé was the third woman ever to headline Coachella, there is more good news concerning gender equality in music: The New York Times reports that beloved music festival Iceland Airwaves has become the first to have a lineup featuring at least as many female as male performers.

Iceland Airwaves’ effort is part of a global initiative named Keychange, which 109 festivals have signed up to in order to further gender equality at music festivals with the goal of achieving an equal gender ration by 2020. According to Iceland Airwaves’ head of operations Will Larnach-Jones, it was easy to reach their goal: “We looked at people we really liked, and then in meetings said, ‘Do we have enough?’ Happily we always did.”

This year’s line-up includes international acts such as Faroese star Eivør, Swedish performer Fever Ray and Soccer Mommy (U.S.) as well as popular local musicians like Sóley, Young Karin and Hildur. Will continued to tell the New York Times that this achievement “shows that you don’t have to try hard—there are so many inspiring women around,” thereby crushing the myth that there are not enough top female acts to choose from.

The fact that Iceland Airwaves has always been open to new music and different genres has certainly helped to reach the goal, as other festivals who count on mainstream pop headliners might indeed have fewer female acts to choose from—but that’s a whole other problem. And it’s certainly no excuse for major festivals such as Glastonbury or Coachella to ignore the issue.

The 20th edition of Iceland Airwaves takes place November 7-10th. Get tickets here.


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