For The Girls

For The Girls

Hello friends, today I’m back with yet another meaty kind of post. I’ve definitely dived into broadening my scope of content from just music recommendations and playlists, and I’m hoping you’re enjoying the little expansion of my niche here on You Should Hear.


With that said, today’s post is going to be a bit of a follow up to my Festival Culture post, which I shared a couple of days ago. Some of you really enjoyed it, so I thought I’d share the second half of the report that I pulled it from, which focuses on the prevalent gender imbalance when it comes to the live music sector. For the sake of the context of the statistics making sense, I should let you know that I specifically focus on this imbalance within Australia, though touch really briefly on international statistics.

It’s no secret that, like with many industries around the world, the music industry does have a bit of a ‘boys-club’ when it comes to the representation of women, both in performing roles, as well as corporate positions and professional music industry roles. My old favourites, triplej Hack, have begun to take a yearly look at the numbers surrounding this topic, and while it’s evident there is some work being done to close the gap, margin of disparity is still huge, and in my opinion, it provides audiences with a slight misinterpretation of the music that’s truly out there.

First we can talk about radio. Of data collected over ten years, women make up only 28% of the most played songs amongst the top 100, within 58 countries. 28%. That number becomes even more absurd when you look at the number of young girls who study music throughout high school. I’m sure it’s the same globally, but while it’s pretty evenly spread, with 54% of the Year 12 students studying music in 2017 being female, visually, you really see the impact young girls have on performing arts within primary, secondary and even tertiary education, however once it reaches the serious ‘work force’, of those listing themselves as ‘music professional’, only 29% are women. The idea that men are just more interested in pursuing musical careers is a no-go when you consider the amount of young girls seriously studying music and investing in a ‘professional music’ education, so how do we go from an almost even balance scaled to only 29% in the work force?

 This is where all of that ^^^ kind of clicks. Within the music industry, like many many industries, men are making the calls. Of all public board members within peak music bodies in Australia, all the women combined make up only 35% of the roles. While there seems to be something being doing about this gender imbalance on the front, I don’t know if it’s made it’s way into the boardroom as much as it ought to have, since that number hasn’t changed since 2016, and that was only an increase by 5% from 2015.

Now, festival lineups? That’s where I get particularly riled up. We’ll start with the most atrocious of them all. In 2015, at Listen Out, still a relatively new festival, though that’s a shit excuse, only 9% of their entire lineup were females. 9%. I mean, they’ve definitely worked to address that considering that percentage rose to 37%, the second highest of the five music festivals researched, but that’s still a pretty poor number. Laneway Festival records the highest percentage of women present in their lineup, with 44%.

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Last year, boutique (kinda) festival, Days Like This festival came under fire in it’s debut, with hold on, no women at all on their lineup. It wasn’t a huge festival by any means, like I mentioned, kind of a boutique festival, but surely out of 38 acts there’s room for at least 1 woman? But to be honest, even that’s a pretty poor effort, as was evident with the backlash to the Spilt Milk festival, where my girl Vera Blue was the single female act of a lineup of 49 artists.

It’s definitely an international issue too. Of 100 acts at the Reading and Leeds festival, only 9 were girls, and 2 of them were headliners. 9 out of 100. Below are also some of my favourite pictures to ever exist, that really drives this point home. It’s all well and good to through statistics at you, but it’s completely different when you see it.

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Crazy, as heck. And so, so, so stupid.

Notably, this years Grammy awards came under rightful fire, considering Lorde, who was nominated for Album of The Year, the only female in the category, wasn’t asked to perform.

The huge issue I see with this, is the imbalance between how many girls are so invested in music, and want to be a part of the music industry, and the music industry they are presented with. As a young woman who’s investing a lot of my future in the hope that I can someday hopefully work in the music industry, it’s daunting. When the role models of young women, as well as young coloured women, are so sparse, and when those who are present have to work twice as hard to get there, it constructs an image that shows an industry that highly favours men, however equal we may be in regards to our talents.

The way young men and women are socialised controls the way they go about constructing their view of the world, and what it means to be, in this case, a young woman. Without a role model, without being able to see another young female artist on stage at a music festival or a strong group of women sitting in high power positions within the industry, the likelihood of young girls even attempting to pursue a career in the music industry diminishes.

 

x

Priya

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Festival Culture and Pill Testing?

Festival Culture and Pill Testing?

Now I understand that the title of this blog alludes to the idea that you should be expecting music recommendations and suggestions consistently, but if you’ve come to know who I am as a person, as a writer, you’ll know that consistency is still something I’m coming to terms with, and working towards.

With that in mind, I want to share a different type of post with you, an essay of sorts if you will.

Going through my hard drive is always a bit of an adventure in itself and last night I found myself looking through a number of essays, reports, short stories and reflections that I have written over the past two years, and I stumbled across this one that was still, if I do say so myself, an interesting re-read.

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So, if you don’t mind, this is a topic I would love to cover on here. The report was an insight into an aspect of the Australian music industry of your choice, of which I chose music festivals. As we had to choose two topics to cover within the report, and be able to link them together by a common thread, I chose to do drug use and practices at music festivals, and then the representation of female musicians performing and headlining at music festivals. If you’d like to read my take on the second topic let me know, but for now the topic is drug use, and in turn, pill testing.

Trust me when I say I had several moments where I thought I’d be able to just copy and paste my report onto here and Bob’s your uncle, schedule and post, but it came to my attention that the report-centered, Harvard style of the piece made me want to stick pins into my eyes, so to safely assume that’s not want you guys want to read, I’ve paraphrased. Hope you enjoy.

So I didn’t really understand how much of an issue drug use really, honestly was, until I did this report. In 2004, excuse the dated research I was able to find, 1600 people who attended Big Day Out in Sydney and Splendour In The Grass in North Byron were tested for drugs and 82% of those people returned positive results. 82%. That’s crazy. That’s well over half the people tested, and if you assume that the ratio can be translated to the rest of the crowd at music festivals, it makes for a highly volatile mix of drugs present. Drugs such as, weed and ecstasy, the most popular ones, as well as LSD and cocaine. In more recent years, there were two drug related deaths at the Stereosonic Music Festival in Sydney, and in 2016, there were over 200 arrests made at The Field Day Music Festival. One woman had over 130 ecstasy pills on her person. Where do you even hide 130 ecstasy pills?? Actually, I don’t want to know.

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Don’t start on the introduction of synthetic drugs. There is such a ridiculous amount of new drugs popping up every single year. At Let Go Fest, my friends and I bumped into a friend of a friend who looked particularly spaced out, only to find that he was hyped up on something called Masterchef. Masterchef. Masterchef as in the popular, elite cooking show, Masterchef. Synthetic drugs like that type of crap, make it ten times harder to even begin to control drug use at festivals and the fatalities that are growingly becoming a norm. However, there have been calls, especially from the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation, to focus on ‘managing the risk, rather than eliminating it’. To be fair, I feel like that’s a far better idea. Why?

At the current moment, the go to move when the police are out in force at these festivals, are sniffer dogs. However, time and time again, cases are arising where people, fearing being caught by these sniffer dogs ingest the entirety of their drugs in one go, before entering the gates. They get past security, the dogs detect nothing, a frisk produces nothing to show, and they still get their drugs.

As an already in use practice that lends itself to the ‘management not elimination’ mentality, several festivals within Europe have installed amnesty bins, and most popularly, pill testing. Amnesty bins provide the option for festival goers to surrender their drugs, without facing any trouble (yeah good luck), however pill testing, in my opinion is something that Australia needs to seriously look into implementing. That said, Groovin In The Moo, a recent festival in Bendigo, a little bit out of Melbourne, put the trial to test, and it was a huge hit.

When interviewed by the media, majority of the festival goers admitted that they were going to take their drugs any way,  and pill testing allowed them to do it with the security of mind that they weren’t going to, you know, die. The fact is, people are going to take their drugs, and while it won’t make a difference in the amount of people who take it, it will make a difference in the number of fatalities as a result. At some points of the day their were huge queues for the pill testing tent, and there were several people who ended up honestly getting rid of their pills when they discovered what was actually in them. While police were on site, they didn’t target the tent at all.

In the 20 countries that pill testing is already under way in, it’s produced a proven reduction in harm rates.

So since writing my report in May of last year, pill testing trials have begun in Australia, and I for one, am incredibly interested, and a lil bit excited, to see the results.

If you found this post even in the slightest bit interesting, please give me some positive affirmation in the comments below, would love to know what you think!

x

Priya

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