How does it feel to be a non-man working in dance music…

Female DJs must have repetitive strain injuries this month.

You know, answering all those emails from panicked promoters trying to book them for their International Women’s Day events. And while we’re at it, spare a thought for the wrists of trans and non-binary acts as Pride approaches. It must be a refreshing change when they are booked for a night that has no variation of girlboss” in the title, or a nearby festival stage draped in rainbows.

But what is the industry like for non-men on either side of the bridges for the other 360 days a year?

Last year, The Guardian published a To analyse of gender representation in queues at 31 events in the UK. The result was overwhelming: most were still heavily male-oriented in the lineup, with the Isle of Wight festival ringing in with 73% male lineup. The imbalance was even more extreme in dance music: Creamfields featured a 91% male lineup in 2021.

We know what you’re thinking. Who gives a damn about Creamfields? Or the downtown clubs? Or DJ Magazines top 100 DJs, where you’ll find a sea of ​​white men wearing sunglasses and smiling at you (there’s only one non-male act in last year’s top 20 list)? But those numbers are indicative of a norm that reflects the world beyond the bubble of underground club culture.

In April this year, the first party resurrected will take place at Hackney Wick in London. In celebration of the divine feminine,” the line-up is comprised entirely of female, trans, and non-binary talent. The organizers of Percolate are working with club nights and collectives like Wxmb2 and Rhythm Sister to realize their vision of a future dance utopia.

Aiming to spotlight the emerging talent who work so tirelessly in the music industry,” as Percolate’s Kitty Bartlett said in the festival announcement, Risen isn’t just championing women and non-binary talent in the spotlight . The festival also revealed the list of liaison artists, managers, engineers and other people from the event team who usually worked behind the scenes.

And if the team behind Risen continues to do what they do on their own terms, then maybe over time the rest of the scene will see the benefits. Inspired by their efforts, we spoke to non-binary nightlife workers to learn how the industry can take meaningful steps towards gender equality.

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