Addressing the gender gap in Adelaide’s music scene

By Sam Bradbrook

As the Australian music scene grows and evolves it is yet to solve its decades-old problem with gender equality.

Falls Festival is the latest institution to come under fire, after revealing a line-up that only included 11 women out of 100-plus artists.

It is a national trend that stretches down to local, city-based music scenes, and Adelaide is unfortunately no different.

Cassie Molnar is a female artist looking to make her way through the industry. She says her and her peers work in constant doubt.

“It’s a bit scary to see, you work hard but then you look and think there’s so few women making it,” Ms Molnar said.

“A lot of the gigs are friends helping friends, so that’s not the problem, but there are definitely less women than men.

“It [Falls Festival] has been playing on my mind, I don’t know if it’s financial, they don’t think females can sell enough tickets, but it’s worrying.”

According to Triple J’s Hack, festival line-ups in Australia have an average male representation rate of 68 per cent.

This is nearly triple the representation rate of females, which was listed at 23 per cent, with mix-gendered acts accounting for the remaining 9 per cent.

Secret Sounds, the promoters behind Falls Festival and Splendour in the Grass have a particularly poor record.

The 2016 iteration of both festivals had 68 per cent and 74 per cent male representation respectively.

Music SA is the institution tasked with nurturing music talent in South Australia; they run several initiatives to get more females involved in the industry.

This includes scholarship programs to female artists and 2018’s female only Girls to the Front program.

General Manager Lisa Bishop says that Girls to the Front will allow females learning music to flourish without the chance of males dominating the classroom.

“You find a lot in music classes that the boys go straight for the guitars and drums and the girls sit back,” Ms Bishop said.

“Everyone needs to address the gender gap… it’s not just industry but families need to change how they teach their children music.

“Girls are regularly encouraged to play the piano and explore pop music while males feel more comfortable exploring more genres.”

An APRA-AMCOS report in gender diversity found that 22 per cent of their membership is female, despite 45 per cent of recent music graduates being female.

Adelaide progressive metal band Cobra are one group leading the charge for gender equality in Adelaide with their gig GRL PWR.

GRL PWR was held on the 20th of October and featured a 75 per cent female line-up along with a range of LGBT acts from around the state.

Cobra drummer Jonty Czuchwicki said that males in the industry need to lead from the front to reach gender equality.

“We need an industry model where this is the norm and booking female and queer artists isn’t something that needs to be thought,” Mr Czuchwicki said.

“Everyone needs to have their voice heard; creativity and art can only progress so far if explored through a limiting lens.

“Not to mention the unethical, immoral and oppressive way that minorities are treated and exploited in a system that is dominated by men.”

Secret Sounds were approached for comment but did not respond.

Image Source: The Age

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