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An Interview with Book More Women



Book More Women is an account on both Twitter and Instagram that highlights the gender imbalance in music festivals. Book More Women primarily posts shots of Festival lineups before and after all of the male only acts are taken out, which usually results in a shocking image of how few women and non-binary artists are on the lineup.


Here at Lovers Spit we've long admired Book More Women's accounts and website. In fact, one of our first posts on the site was a Playlist Spotlight of Book More Women's 2019 playlist!!


You can find that post here:

https://www.loversspitmagazine.com/post/playlist-spotlight-book-more-women





We recently got the chance to interview Book More Women and talk representation, inspiration, and how to spark change in the music industry.


What inspired you to create Book More Women? Is there a specific event or moment that comes to mind?


The inspiration behind Book More Women is of course the gender imbalance that is so pervasive in the music industry. Specifically, it was the 2018 Firefly lineup that fueled me. I was arguing on twitter with some people about the importance of representation and it was striking just how many people weren't bothered by the fact that there was only one woman in the top 23 acts. After that, I really started paying attention and started editing lineups just for myself. I'd seen these edited posters around and thought that maybe it might change minds if they were all together in one place. After the Lollapalooza lineup came out, I started the Twitter and soon after, the Instagram.


What is the mission behind Book More Women?


The mission is to raise awareness and start conversations about the gender imbalance in music, and to work towards a more diverse industry.


Why did you decide to focus on female and non-binary representation in music festivals specifically? Are there any other fields you think would be interesting to shed light on?


There are two reasons why I chose to focus on festivals. First, I just like them! To me, they represent a place where all kinds of people spend their time and their money just to experience music together, and I think these spaces should be as diverse as possible. Secondly, festival lineup posters provide an effective way to get the message across visually.

The problem isn't just with festivals of course, and I have had a ton of DM conversations about all the other areas just in music that need more diversity. It's pretty much everywhere: radio play, label rosters, sound and lighting, production and engineering, journalism, photography... 

And of course the problem isn't only with gender. In many instances racial diversity is even more lacking. There are tons of great initiatives out there to shed light on and fix racial diversity in the music industry as well, like SISTASPIN (https://www.sistaspin.net/). I have personally been working on centering this in my mind when I think about gender diversity, because a lineup being 50% women doesn't mean much if they are all telling the same stories.





What are some of your most memorable moments since starting Book More Women?

Why do you think, in 2019, many music festivals still have such a low percentage of female and non-binary artists in their lineups?


I remember at the beginning whenever a musician I listen to would follow me and I would send a screenshot to my sister like "LOOK!!!" but now it's totally normal for Grammy award winners to be liking my posts, which is wild. Just getting to exchange DMs with people that I have admired from afar and get their thoughts and advice has been incredible. I'd say one message in particular has been the most significant for me. When I posted the Governor's Ball lineup for 2019 (36%) and mentioned the improvement over 2018 (28%), I commented "50% next year?" and one of the founders of the fest replied "deal!" I think about it a lot and just knowing that organizers are keeping this in their minds is amazing and way more than I ever expected, honestly.


Why do you think, in 2019, many music festivals still have such a low percentage of female and non-binary artists in their lineups?


Most of the time it's puzzling. I understand that there really are less women out there playing certain genres, like EDM for example, but to see lineups still comprising of more than 90% men is discouraging. A more diverse lineup will bring a more diverse audience, and that's always a good thing in my mind. 


How do you think we can spark change to see more representation for female and non-binary musicians?


There's a thousand causes to gender imbalance, but fortunately there are thousands of people attacking it from every angle. I think we have to invest in music education of course, and encourage girls to follow their passions. The Girls Rock Camps do incredible things on that front. Representation is so important, which is why I think it's important for women and non-binary artists to be visible on stage and in headlining slots. It seems like every musician who has "made it" has a story of seeing someone live when they were a child that inspired them to pursue music. If kids never see someone who looks like them on stage, it makes it that much harder to imagine themselves up there.

Another thing I'm always thinking about is the need for more women and non-binary people in positions of power. We need to see more diverse label executives, radio executives, festival organizers, editors, etc. Having different points of view is so important for industries to grow to value new ideas. 


What can we expect for the future from Book More Women?


I'm, of course, looking forward to some 2020 lineups to start being released in the fall to see what kind of progress has or hasn't been made. I've also been trying to put a more positive spin on this by focusing more on highlighting festivals that are doing a good job. Besides that, I've got a lot of ideas that I've been thinking about and that others have brought to me to broaden the scope of this project a bit and to utilize the website a little more. Mostly just trying to keep people talking about this issue!



You can follow Book More Women online at https://www.bookmorewomen.com/ or on social media @bookmorewomen.


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