Movement Music Festival, Detroit’s Memorial ascent into electronic music heaven, this year proved to tell its tale of movement even clearer. With community and inclusion taking the helm and leading its attendees into swirling eddies of techno and house music, waves of existence lifted melodically into Detroit’s hum of progress.
Movement has been continuously applauded for the diversity of its acts and its inclusive attitude, inviting artists from all over the techno, soul, funk, house and even rap spectrum. Paxahau, the production company behind the weekend festivities, stick to their roots as a community driven event with the city of Detroit beating at its core. The whole experience blending harmoniously with the city, the music community and its global visitors.
This year, the harmony found within had an unmistakably and surprising feminine dynamic. Over 20 female acts turned out with stories to shout from the stages of Hart Plaza. Veteran goddesses Nina Kraviz, Ellen Allien and the Godmother of House Music DJ Stacey “Hotwaxx” Hale proved their techno and house dominance, while the mega talents of Charlotte de Witte, Avalon Emerson, Aurora Halal, Hito, Ida Engberg, Mija and so many more added their ever-evolving journeys to the weekend’s overflowing vessel.
While Movement took a definite leap into one day creating a truly diverse and gender balanced lineup, many other music festivals are failing to step up. Every year is another disappointment as music festivals, particularly electronic music festivals, continuously book less than 20% female acts. Some, including Ultra Music Festival and Electric Zoo book less than 10%.
The glaringly disproportionate number of male to female acts must make the festival goers wonder why? Why, when half of festival attendees are female, are males represented in 80% or more of the artists? It’s not as if female DJs were offered the job just to say no. By limiting the number of open doors in a male dominated industry, a vacuum happened over time. That hole struggles to fill itself up with diverse talents from all genders.
The great thing about culturally imbedded social institutions like sexism or racism, is they can be denied their existence and refused power over us. It’s time for harmony and balance to take the lead in our musical festivals. It’s time all genders are represented and recognized as significant.
Movement Detroit shows us gender balance is not only possible, but admirable. Creating value in its mission and its movement by building a truly inspiring community around it. It encourages all attendees to support our respective journeys for creative freedom, and help budding female DJs find strength in themselves as artists. This is our chance as consumers and music appreciators to demand more consideration into the diversity of the music festivals we pay to see. The talent is out there, it’s attainable and real.
If you’re interested in learning more about achieving gender equality at music festivals and encouraging the growth of international female DJs, check out Keychange. They are an international campaign which invests in emerging female talent while encouraging international music festivals to pledge to achieve a 50:50 balance by the year 2022. Keychange is led by PRS Foundation, and supported by the Creative Europe program of the European Union.