“Why do an equality lineup now? Because we should have done it ages ago.”
It’s 2019 and we’ve all had enough. Frustrated with a lack of diversity and ‘male, pale, stale’ panels and lineups at events, one Spanish festival has declared a 50/50 gender ratio benchmark.
They’re calling this ‘The New Normal’.
We’re talking about Primavera Sound. For three days every June, Europe’s largest solar panel looks down on three days of sustained partying – and some excellently unsustainable behaviour – at one of the best curated music festivals on this planet. Framed by an epic symbol of sustainability, this year the Barcelona fest is upping its green game.
While Primavera has always been revered by music lovers for its strong and unique billings (if you google “10 reasons why Primavera” it will predict “has the best lineup in the world”), for its 19th edition the festival is setting a new standard by promoting “equality, eclecticism and audacity”.
It’s about time girls run the world.
Featuring Neneh Cherry, Janelle Monáe, Lizzo, Robyn, Erykah Badu, Solange, Róisín Murphy, FKA twigs, Courtney Barnett, Christine and the Queens, Charli XCX, Miley Cyrus (yes, really), Catalania-born Rosalía and more, this year its lineup is mostly women. Over half of the 226 artists are female.
The Primavera Sound team explained that it’s not been easy to fight against the inertia that has been passed down for so many years. “If the future is female, what’s the point in waiting? Looking back over our previous lineups, and despite the progress in the last few editions, we needed to go further. If half of our audience is female, why shouldn’t half of our lineup be so too?”
It’s just a shame this has to be billed as audacious and revolutionary.
Not content with simply shining a spotlight on gender equality, the fest is also setting an example to other festivals when it comes to sustainability. Because a lineup is no more than that: a lineup. What is really important is what goes on around it.
As events grow, it’s vital to be more environmentally conscious. Primavera is firmly to evaluate its environmental impact and to take measures to reduce its carbon footprint, to offset it through various initiatives. They have teamed up with the UN SDG Action Campaign to create 17 objectives for a better world and a better festival – an integral part of their social-responsibility programme.
“The effort of Primavera Sound to broaden minds could not limit itself to the lineup alone.”
Like Primavera, all festivals, events and conferences should use reusable cups, a plastic bottle recycling bank and recycled paper print outs. But they knows this is not enough, so they have created a music fund for children. It’s permanently dedicated to introducing music activities and learning programmes for girls and boys who live in poverty and vulnerability.
Primavera also donate to Save the Children and Uniraid, with food surplus donations going to the Oxfam Food Bank, and support Nobody is Normal – No Callem. The initiative raises awareness of gender discrimination and sexual harassment in nighttime venues, and reduce tickets for people at risk of social exclusion.
“Fight for your right to party, party for your right to fight. In a place that is conducive to transgression as a festival must be, living your own gender expression and sexuality must never be a reason to suffer any type of violence or discrimination.”
Here, have some female empowerment from Lizzo:
Today’s millennial artists and festivalgoers might be vegan, take steps to being as green as possible and come with a sustainability-speech encoded in their DNA, but not everyone really fights the good fight. (Side note: we recently learned that David Byrne carries his own tupperware on tour, so as to not consume single use plastics. He can be spotted at artist catering buffets happily filling up tuppers.)
So this June when you’re dancing under an arch of solar panels overlooking the Med sea, picking up a fallen palm tree frond and waving it in the air like you just didn’t care, remember to clean up after yourselves. And after three days, nights, and numerous ‘afters’, be thankful that the epic solar panel can’t talk.
AtlasAction: Primavera Sound runs from May 30 to June 1, 2019 at Parc del Fòrum in Barcelona. Flying into town from abroad? Think about offsetting your global footprint.
► Atlas of the Future is proud to be part of ‘the new normal’. When you’ve recovered from Primavera Sound, join us at Fixing the future on 7-8 June at the CCCB Barcelona – with two full days and 40+ FutureHeroes from around the world helping fix biodiversity, our oceans, food and farming, cities and the climate crisis.
► 31 of the 51 speakers are female (that’s almost 60%). Learn more about the awesome women here: from Michelle Obama favourite’s zero km chef Maria Solivellas and ‘Writer in the Forest’ Zakiya Mckenzie, to Oxfam’s Winnie Byanyima and WWF’s Lin Li . No ‘manels’ here.