Festival season is just kicking off, especially south of the States where the weather is kinder this time of year. But as crowds get pumped for performances at Mexico’s upcoming Bahidorá Festival or Panama’s El Bloke Fest, another festival group is reminding us of an important issue in this industry: gender inequality. Ruidosa Fest, the feminist project by Chilena singer Francisca Valenzuela, shared an alarming infographic on Instagram this week. In it, recent research revealed that male acts made up over 75 percent of several Mexican music festivals in 2019 alone.
Ruidosa Fest shouted out slang.fm, the Spanish-language entertainment site who undertook the research project. “In more than 30 Mexican music festivals in 2019, 75% of [half of] the lineups were made up of men 🔎 ⚠️ Inspired by our #ResearchNoidosa, @slangfm made an infographic with 50 Mexican festivals held last year to analyze the percentage of #femaleparticipation and #gendergap across CONTINENTAL stages UH 😡 🗯️,” reads their caption.
To be precise, slang.fm focused their efforts on more than 30 Mexican music festivals with lineups announced before June 5, 2019. Of these 30 festivals, half of them matched the 75 percent figure mentioned above. It’s still a startling takeaway, especially considering that data from INEGI claims that women make up 51.4% of Mexico altogether, yet aren’t anywhere close to being represented in those numbers on stage. So what gives?
Festivals like Mexico City’s NRMAL and Grrrl Noise offer a welcome resolution: Just book more women, duh. NRMAL led slang.fm’s findings as the festival with the highest gender balance in Mexico, as well as the highest percentage of mixed acts (which means, nearly 67% of their acts were mixed-gender projects.)
“For us, it is not an obligation to fulfill the gender quota. It is what we have within reach to generate change,” Moni Saldaña, director of NRMAL, said to slash.fm last year.
Meanwhile, Grrrl Noise remains the only Mexican festival in 2019 whose entire lineup contains women — either as solo acts or mixed projects led by women. Time for every other festival, in Mexico and beyond, to get on their level.