Why Kate Nash's promise to tackle sexual abuse in the music industry is so important
"Creating spaces that purposely lack diversity can make spaces unwelcoming."
This week, Kate Nash announced her intention to tackle the music industry's sexual abuse and assault issue.
The singer revealed the project on social media this week, urging those who had experienced such misconduct at a festival to get in contact with her, to share their story, and help tackle the problem head on.
Nash plans to compile the data she receives and form a thesis detailing the experience of non-male acts who have been booked at predominately male festivals. Events will be named in the research, but individuals will remain anonymous.
She wrote: " I’m attempting to tackle the issues I’m passionate about. I want change so I’m building a platform to tackle sexual assault & abuse in the music industry and I need your help.
"I believe that festival line ups that lack diversity & exclude non male acts are part of the problem. Creating spaces that purposely lack diversity can make spaces unwelcoming & potentially unsafe for punters and that is unacceptable."
Nash, who is best known for her track 'Foundations' and more recently her role in Netflix's GLOW, asked anybody who has ever been sexually abused or assaulted, experienced racism, or felt unsafe at a festival, and who feels comfortable discussing their experience, to contact her.
Nash's post comes amidst the release of multiple UK festival lineups for this year. Many, including the Isle of Wight and TRNSMT, have few female headliners, and in some cases, none at all.
She highlighted comments from British festival Kendall Calling's programming director Emma Zillmann, who said she didn't agree that music festivals should be "trying harder." Zillmann said: "We’re an easy target because we have a poster that clearly shows the hierarchy of the music industry.”
Nash dubbed the response "lazy" and said that the industry wasn't getting anywhere because "everyone makes some lame excuse."
"We’re an unprofessional industry," she said in an Instagram Story. "We have no HR department, sexual assault & abuse is RIFE, we don’t pay artists for their work and we make promises to book more women and create diverse line ups and fail to commit.
"If we constantly blame the gatekeepers like major labels and publishers then how do we ever change things because they have proved they really don’t give a shit.”
Although Ireland is unlikely to experience the same issue this year (festivals for 2021 are looking increasingly unlikely due to the Covid-19 pandemic), the country has its fair share of gender disparity across lineups, bookings, and airplay.
Last year, music promoter Linda Coogan, launched the Why Not Her? campaign, an initiative exposing the severe lack of female Irish talent being played on radio stations compared to their male counterparts.
Since launching the campaign, the majority of stations have increased the number of female artists they play, but contrary to the belief of some, the campaign was not just about airplay, but about the culture of misogyny that exists in the music industry.
Coogan told Her at the time: "There’s a lot at stake here. Women are the back bone of society and yet society is dictated by what men want. This current situation isn’t serving anyone except white male artists."
It is not yet known when Nash's research will be published, but it's looking quite likely that she will indeed have a lot of data to work with.