WORDS: GEORGIA RAWSON
As the dust settles from yet another British festival season, it seems that progression and inclusivity are once more at the forefront of the festival circuit, especially on a more feminine empowering stand point. Whether this is the likes of mainstream artists such as Billie Eilish bring a headliner sized set mid afternoon, or the likes of underground punk LGBTQ outfits such as Queen Zee ripping up the stage, Laura Jane Grace presenting the annual August Heavy Music Awards, or our American counterparts such as Sound & Fury exhibiting the female identifying photographers through an intimate exhibition, or the likes of Riot Grlll godmothers, Bikini Kill returning to the stage for Chicago’s Riot Fest, it seems that the festival season has become a time to celebrate and feel empowered by all of the iconic, strong, and talented women around us, and that we were finally beginning to make progression after decades of oppression within the creative industries.
Until we read the recent rider request of German festival, Death Feast. At first when receiving the rider via a female touring party member, we thought we were still dazed from a late night viewing of Spinal Tap. Maybe we had fallen asleep on the sofa and woken up in a lucid dream set in the 70s, one dictated by the toxic masculinity of the past. No, this is 2019. And this is a genuinely published, thought to be professional, and used rider. And it’s sending all of the wrong messages.
Let’s dive deeper shall we?
Advancing rider and technical rider information is like delivering the backbone to any event or festival. It lets the artists and their crew (in this case not if you don’t identify as a man) know how to get from point A to B. But sometimes the obvious is far from stated. If like myself, you studied three years and got into serious debt for a first class honours degree in ‘music industry management’, you might want to look elsewhere for material to cite. Whilst there are plenty of amateur, grammatical, and downright lack of common sense based mistakes on the full rider, these are the two which are the most alarming.
There’s a festival not having a strong representation of all genders on the stage, and then there’s just slapping everyone around the face with a big old slice of misogyny. Check this out. This is real. This is a message. This is a festival that is downright disregarding all of the hardworking people who identify outside of the male gender. Oh unless you’re ‘owned’ by someone, or ‘you’ve known them more than one night’.
And if you’re ready for the irony, or more of an added insult to injury check out their live footage from the show, there’s no one accidentally dropping the camera here, and there’s no token ‘girl power’ needed on the festival’s social media … the festival is still yet to release a statement and a public apology for the above.
The various video content (now removed) from the festival’s socials also see’s multiple women try to push away camera crew who film their breasts, all the while disguising it as ‘streaming live sets’. You can see the screen grabs below:
Festivals such as this pose more of a threat than ever before for our industry. In a time where progression to make all feel safe, and respected regardless of gender, race, sexuality, religion, ability, or identity, across all aspects of the industry is the utmost importance, it really does feel like a kick.
Whilst we are still awaiting an official statement or apology for the festival, you can check out the incredible work by the following charities and personnel, all of which strive to do the opposite of such an ignorant approach to the entertainment industry.
SHAWNA POTTER – “Making Spaces Safer: A Guide to Giving Harassment the Boot Wherever You Work, Play, and Gather” (Book)