5 Upcoming Music Festivals Leading the Charge for Female Representation

As the music industry continues to evolve, a significant shift is happening on festival stages worldwide: more female artists are taking the spotlight. This year, several music festivals are breaking the mould by featuring a lineup with strong female representation, proving that talent knows no gender. Whether you’re a fan of rock, pop, electronic, or indie, these festivals are not only about incredible music but also about celebrating diversity and empowering female musicians. Don’t miss these five upcoming music festivals where women are set to shine!

  1. Women of the World Festival (WOW) – Since its debut in 2010, the Women of the World (WOW) Festival has illuminated the global stage, championing the voices and achievements of women and girls worldwide. From its humble beginnings at London’s Southbank Centre, WOW Festivals have flourished into transformative gatherings spanning continents, captivating over five million attendees. Through a vibrant tapestry of festivals, events, and educational programs, WOW aims to address  gender inequality and empower women and girls through a diverse range of events, including performances, workshops, panel discussions, and art exhibitions. WOW has featured a diverse lineup of female artists, including iconic figures like Beyoncé, Adele, Björk, and Patti Smith, as well as emerging talents from around the world. Guided by The WOW Foundation, this movement continues to expand its reach, hosting over 100 events across six continents. With the esteemed support of the former Duchess of Cornwall, the WOW Festival remains a beacon of hope and solidarity, inspiring women everywhere to unite in the pursuit of equality and empowerment. They have a variety of events coming up!

2. Roskilde Festival – Established in Roskilde, Denmark: Roskilde Festival is one of the largest music festivals in Europe especially the largest in the Nordic countries, dating back to 1971, founded by two high school students and a promoter, known for its nonprofit ethos, community spirit, and commitment to social causes– Aims to create a platform for artistic expression, cultural exchange, and social activism By supporting diversity, inclusion, and gender equality in its programming. Roskilde Festival has showcased numerous female artists over the years, including legends like Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin, and Joni Mitchell, as well as contemporary stars like Rihanna, Solange, and Lorde.  The Fest features a diverse lineup of artists from various genres, with a strong emphasis on promoting female representation in music. It hosts performances by female solo artists, bands, DJs, and experimental musicians. The line-up for their 2024 arrival looks rather musically promising, the festival is set to be back on saturday, 29th June to saturday, 6th July 2024!

3. Festival International de Jazz de Montréal – Originating in Montreal, Canada, the fest holds the 2004 Guinness world book of records for being the largest jazz festival in the world. Canadian businessman Alain Simard founded the festival in 1980, and it has since attracted over two million visitors annually. The festival celebrates the diversity of jazz, showcasing a wide range of musical influences and styles. It is also committed to promoting gender diversity and supporting female jazz musicians. The festival has featured notable female jazz artists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Diana Krall, Esperanza Spalding, and Hiromi Uehara, among others. The Montreal International Jazz Festival features over a thousand concerts and activities, including performances by female jazz vocalists, instrumentalists, composers, and bandleaders. Their 2024 program consists of artists like Laufey, Yaya Bey, Elisapie, Norah Jones, Dominique Fils-Aimé, Ana Moura and more! The festival is set to be back with its jazz prowess on Thursday, 27th June till Saturday, 6th July!

4. Sónar Festival –  Founded by Ricard Robles, Enric Palau and Sergi Caballero, The Sónar Festival is a leading electronic music festival that began in Barcelona, Spain in 1994. It has since expanded to other cities around the world, including Buenos Aires, Istanbul, and Reykjavik featuring performances by many female electronic music artists, DJs, producers, and audiovisual performers, including Björk, Grimes, Nina Kraviz, Ellen Allien, and The Blessed Madonna, as well as rising talents from the global electronic music scene. having hosted concerts, DJ sets, workshops, and exhibitions that celebrate female creativity in electronic music, Sónar Festival aims to showcase cutting-edge electronic music, innovative multimedia art, and emerging technologies. It emphasises diversity, experimentation, and inclusivity in its programming.

The festival is coming back again on 18th September until 21st september 2024!

Reeperbahn Festival – Originating in Hamburg, Germany, held annually over the last 4 days at the end of September the Reeperbahn Festival is one of the largest music festivals in Europe, known for its eclectic lineup, industry conference, and focus on emerging talent, This Festival aims to showcase new music from around the world, foster networking and collaboration within the music industry, and promote diversity and inclusion in its programming. Reeperbahn Festival has featured performances by female artists from diverse genres, including indie, pop, electronic, and hip-hop. It hosts concerts, showcases, and networking events that highlight female talent. Reeperbahn Festival has welcomed many female artists to its stages, including Aurora, Lizzo, Robyn, Anna Calvi, and Neneh Cherry, as well as emerging acts from Germany and beyond. The festival is set to be back on with its new musically diverse line up

These festivals are leading the way, but it’s clear the music industry has much further to go in achieving true gender equality. It’s refreshing to see events prioritising female representation, yet frustrating that it’s still a notable exception rather than the norm. By attending and supporting these festivals, we can collectively push for the industry to stop treating gender diversity as a novelty and start making it standard practice. Let’s demand more from the music world—it’s time for lasting change!

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Written by: Kusha Singh