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OSLO WORLD 2019 with over 60% female representation among its artists

As Keychange 2.0 is unveiled, Oslo World announces its 26th edition, with over 60% female representation among headliners. As Keychange aims at increasing diversity on the global music scene, Oslo World has become one of the official partner festivals in Keychange 2.0

Last week, Keychange 2.0 was unveiled at the Reperbahn festival in Hamburg at a press launch. The Keychange project aims to increase diversity at festivals all around the world through incentives, talent development, open discussions and collaborations between festivals.

The extended project will increase its support up to 74 participants, up from 60 previously. The news followed the recent announcement that the global movement for gender equality recently received €1.4m in funding from the European Commission, and also announced a new management structure headed up by lead partner Reeperbahn Festival.

Oslo World was one of the first festivals who signed the Keychange pledge. Committed festivals to achieve a 50/50 gender balance by 2022. In Keychange 2.0, which is also aiming at acchieving greater diversity on all levels – gender, sexual orientation, country of origin,

Oslo World is now one of 12 partner festivals.

This edition of Oslo World will feature 28 female headliners/dj’s, 21 male and 7 mixed groups. The artists come from 25 different countries.

If we follow the Keychange guidelines, and count mixed groups as as female representation, the Oslo World program has a female representation over 60%. Granted, there are different ways of measuring representation, both on and off stage. If we count every single musician, it paints a different picture. But the Keychange pledge serves as a useful way of measuring the progress a festival makes.

Why is this important? For Oslo World, diversity, both in terms of gender, genre and origin, is a goal unto itself. Our job is to level the playing field and to expand both what the audience and the artists think is possible. Increased diversity is an investment – in the long run, we will get more diverse audiences, and more interesting artists. There is also work to be done off stage, in technical crews and artistic direction. Oslo World was founded in 1994 and has had a female festival director since 1998. Alexandra Archetti Stølen (2006 – ) and Anne Moberg (1998 – 2005). This is still too rare in this business, an doing something about it is one of the keys to effecting real, lasting change on the music scene.

The cliché, when confronted with male overrepresentation, is to say that it’s simply too difficult to do something about. That there isn’t enough female talent to go around, or that it’s economically irresponsible to aim for 50/50. Make no mistake, festival booking is hard. But a lot of the festivals closest to achieving the Keychange goals are also at the forefront in other fields, with some of the most cutting edge and exciting booking profiles. These festivals don’t view the gender pledge as something isolated from artistic or economic ambitions. Or something that needs to be compensated for. Rather, it should be seen as a way of getting better at all of these things. As a stern reminder to keep listening for the next exciting thing, for new musical possibilities. A way of staying relevant to the audience.

It will also, in many ways, get easier. The emphasis Keychange puts on talent development, collaborations, making resources available for the participants and a global database to encourage diverse bookings, will have a huge impact. It will also ensure that the festivals who make the pledge stay at the forefront of other developments in the global festival market. Oslo World is proud to be a part of that development. This years booking is a long step in that direction – but the work continues.

Keychange is led by Reeperbahn Festival, PRS Foundation and Musikcentrum Öst, supported by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union, in partnership with Tallinn Music Week, Iceland Airwaves, BIME, Oslo World, Linecheck/Music Innovation Hub, Ireland Music Week, SACEM, Liverpool Sound City, Way Out West, Spring Break, MAMA, Mutek and

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