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Australian Musos Criticise Listen Out Festival For Lack Of Diversity

Written by Nastassia Baroni on June 25, 2015

Australian musicians collective LISTEN has taken aim at this year’s Listen Out festival for it’s lack of diversity, pointing out that the 2015 lineup features just a single female act.

“Of the 17 acts announced on the line-up for Listen Out festival, only one, Alison Wonderland, is female,” reads a statement from the collective, founded by musician Evelyn Morris, which is dedicated to encouraging conversations around female experiences in music.

“We – and audiences – want music festivals that represent the true and beautiful diversity of our community,” write LISTEN. “We’re sick of dude fests.”

The statement also criticises a email announcement send out about the festival lineup, which they say featured “a homophobic remark”. The remark in question reads, “When done correctly and at the right place, Dance can: attract the opposite sex…”

Melbourne musician and Girls Who Smoke Poke label head Simona Kapitolina said such a comment ignores the LGBTI origins of electronic music. “House music was created in and for gay, trans, African American and Latino clubs and people!! And now that history is being erased by appropriation by white heteronormativity.”

Listen Out promoters Fuzzy Australia have responded to the statement, telling Music Feeds, “We wish we had more female performers on this year’s Listen Out lineup, and will be aiming to have more next year.”

“We have no desire to offend anyone and we are very surprised and mortified to find that we have,” they added in response to LISTEN’s criticism of the “homophobic remark” in their email announcement.

Listen Out are not the first Australian music festival or arts event this year to be criticised for the lack of diversity on their lineups. Earlier this year the LISTEN collective criticised the 2015 Vivid LIVE lineup for its “mind boggling” lack of diversity.

“There are so many incredible female electronic musicians performing live these days,” LISTEN member and Melbourne-based DJ, Katie Pearson, aka Whiskey Houston, said. “Bookers and promoters need to let go of their archaic and ill-informed concerns that booking lesser-known artists on a festival bill is going to affect ticket sales.”

It should be noted that some Australian festivals have taken active steps towards securing more gender diverse lineups, with events such as this year’s Laneway Festival and the upcoming Splendour In The Grass, as prime examples.

Katie Pearson echoes that sentiment, stating that festivals like “Meredith and Splendour in the Grass are proving that a diverse line-up can still sell out a festival the day tickets go on sale.”

This year’s Listen Out lineup features Childish Gambino, SBTRKT, Joey Bada$$, Odesza, Alison Wonderland and Lido, amongst others. View the full lineup, below.

listen out email
Image via LISTEN

Listen Out 2015 Lineup

Childish Gambino
SBTRKT (DJ set)
Joey Bada$$
Alison Wonderland
Odesza
Rae Sremmurd
Golden Features
Dusky
Ryan Hemsworth
ILoveMakkonen
George Fitzgerald
Lido
Hayden James
Client Liason
Roland Tings
Halfway Crooks
Jordan Burns
triple j Unearthed winner
+ Many more

Saturday, 26th September
Catani Gardens, St Kilda, Melbourne
Tickets: Listen Out

Sunday, 27th September
Ozone Reserve, Perth
Tickets: Listen Out

Saturday, 3rd October
Centennial Park, Sydney
Tickets: Listen Out

Sunday, 4th October
Brisbane Showgrounds, Brisbane
Tickets: Listen Out

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