This website began as a few tally marks that I made on scraps of paper in my spare time, counting how many women would be on stage at a local folk festival. Eventually, my hobby blossomed into a more formal study of the gender breakdown of U.S. roots festival performers in 2019.
Via my own research and other studies that I sourced, I learned that gender parity in booking is nearly non-existent across every genre of music (and art forms in general). Sadder still, awareness of imbalance is also nearly non-existent. (Scroll to read more)
As with so much bias, gender imbalance is a self-perpetuating issue built on an infrastructure that is deeply woven into our society. It will take a multi-faceted approach to bring our cultural and musical world into a place of better representation.
After crunching numbers for a year, the question for me then became, “how can we be the change we want to see?” In an essay for No Depression magazine that I authored in February of 2020, I discuss this at length, looking not only at the results of my study, but the causation of imbalance and some potential solutions to the issue. One suggestion I put forward is making women more available to both bookers and other musicians via a national directory, something that became a focus of this website (see the Directory).
Also in need of a magnifying lens are ethnic and nonbinary artist representations in booking. As I work towards bringing more people onto this team, it is my hope to broaden the scope of the parity discussion to further explore these and other important realms. Ultimately, this website’s goal is to bring more diversity to the world of music; to set a stage, if you will, for a music community that better reflects its audience.
-Katherine Etzel, Founder, MusicParity.org