Music makes the bourgeoisie and the rebel…do what?

Politics. Equality. Sexism. The relentless back and forth of politically correct bitching.
Petitions. Laws. Rights. Non stop nagging to get us all involved and care.

Old Minorities. New minorities. Cultural appropriation. The jaded activist’s burnout, versus
the relative innocence of maturing in a culture with previously hard won rights.

Do you ever hear: ‘Women got the vote didn’t they? It’s female priests AND Bishops nowadays, right?. Gays can marry. If you shout ‘faggot’ it’s a hate crime. No one has to sit at the back of the bus. Give it all a rest!’

Where do you stand? Do you care? Are you tired of being made to care? What is the the actual state of affairs regarding what has been achieved compared to what we feel about those achievements? How much do we all agree about where the new battle lines are to be drawn?

Well, regardless of one’s apathy or militancy, we are actually doing well – in terms of the acquisition of rights, the enshrining of them in law and, perhaps more importantly, how we all think about these things.

Few members of the public would tolerate the once familiar ‘No Blacks, Dogs or Irish’ signs in a news agent’s window, and, signally, they cannot be replaced with a modern ‘No Syrians, Muslims or Intersex’ sign either; notwithstanding the threat of terrorism, general ignorance, or the wide appeal of UKIP.

We have the incredible luxury of campaigning for our quality of life rather than struggling for life itself. So, should we still be campaigning for those inequalities that yet exist or rather leave it all to an embittered vanguard of old warriors?

Maybe. However, aside from the hand wringing of middle-class guilt, what can we, in these politically fatigued, media saturated times, actually do? When we turn to the funded mechanisms of social change all we seem to see is corruption and in-fighting.

Well it seems to me that Stonewall gave us the gift of fun to go with our freedom fighting… and fun is a pivotal part of any Pride. We can now, sometimes, change the world with a light hearted touch and have a good time doing it.

Right then: festivals and charity shops: The modern answer is to… Have fun, chill out and change the world through music. Enjoy consumerism, spend less and look good.

Turn up the volume. No sarcasm here: the contributions that have been made by raising awareness and generating finance from these sources is undeniable.

However, apparently there is an ‘elephant in the room’. An ugly fact, we’re told, regarding live music events…

‘In 2015 the major festivals displayed a massive gender imbalance. Of the 87 acts that were announced, 78 were all male, 3 were female and 6 were mixed groups. That was an 89.8% all male line up’.

We were all too busy having fun to notice. This misrepresentation does need to change. Or do we think the great pop divas: Lady Gaga, Madonna, et al, are the only examples of prime female musicianship out there? Maybe women just can’t cut the musical mustard when it comes to ‘serious’ rock? Somehow I doubt that, but the numbers are telling us that something strange is going on.
Well, someone has come up with a controversial response to this state of affairs:

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Pandorafest.

In July 2016, Pandorafest will be ‘the UK’s first music festival to ‘focus on celebrating women artists and female musicianship across all genres’. Touted as LGBTQI friendly, it is a ‘one day, world class, live music event featuring female singer/songwriters, women musicians and female fronted bands playing across two stages’.

Male artists are welcome as band members but the focus is definitely on the ladies. Announced as family friendly and LGBTI friendly. It is NOT a women only attendance event, but rather ‘a traditional festival that simply redresses the imbalance of represented performers, with men, women and every other shade of the spectator spectrum all welcome’.

As all festivals should be.

It will be located in Scotland. There will be music, stalls, food and drink; all the usual fun of a fest combined with the addictive joy of doing the right thing by supporting women musicians and celebrating female musicianship… Sounds great….

Controversial, I’d said earlier. Well, if you don’t think it is, then fine, Pandorafest is for you.

But it’s not so fluffy if you’re a struggling male artist or band. The festival scene is VERY competitive. There are guys out there that would sell their organs to get a shot at the mainstage of a decent event. For them it’s business, a chance to get some career changing publicity, to show the world what they can do.

And there’s a brand new player in the ever growing British festival scene. But it doesn’t want them. However good they are. Whatever they have to say.

Can we truly only combat discrimination by discriminating against the majority? If we’re drawing up new battle lines we should be careful,this time round.

Perhaps Pandorafest will have a charity shop stall?

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Opinions expressed in this article may not reflect those of THEGAYUK, its management or editorial teams. If you'd like to comment or write a comment, opinion or blog piece, please click here.