Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
Society/business Science Shops Language, Culture and Communication Projecten Menu

Preliminary results

At the moment, two MA students have finished their research within the project. Here you can read their extensive public summary in which the students elaborate on their methodology and the theory they used.

Diversity at Roskilde and ESNS

Cultural Leadership student Dan Padure researched the gender distribution in the line-ups of showcase festivals Eurosonic Noorderslag (The Netherlands) and Roskilde (Denmark) over the period 2016-2022. He also looked at the representation of artists and groups with people of color.

Notable about Dan’s research is that the diversity policies of both showcase festivals are quite fruitious. In 2016 the majority of acts on the line-up were constituted only of male members (71% at Roskilde and 60% at ESNS), but since 2019 we see a shift towards a more 50/50 distribution. There was even a majority of acts that had either a gender-mixed or a fully female componence in the case of both of the festivals (60% at Roskilde and 57% at ESNS). Please note that the total number of male performers is still significantly higher in both cases as we speak, however, we see a strong decline in the number of all-male acts, in favor of more diverse acts. 

Gender representation at ESNS and Roskilde (2016-2022)
Gender representation at ESNS and Roskilde (2016-2022)

According to Dan, the attention for the underrepresentation of non-white artists at festivals is growing, with Roskilde as a frontrunner. However, it is difficult to draw conclusions from the data, because the focus-areas and booking processes from both festivals are quite different from each other. Dan’s research does show us that, especially since 2020, the attention for a more diverse representation on stage is growing. The social and political discussion surrounding topics like mental health and systemic issues, as well as global resonant social movements such as "Black Lives Matter" that took place during the COVID-19 pandemic, might be amongst some of the main factors behind the acceleration of more representative line-ups. 

Women heavily underrepresented at ESNS Exchange programme

Guest-student Juan Carlos Méndez Álvarez (Utrecht University) focussed his research on how the gender distribution in the line-ups of ESNS differed from the line-up that consisted of artists booked via the exchange programme (ESNS Exchange). In his research, Juan Carlos looked at artists who were booked 2 or more times by the ESNS Exchange programme between 2016 and 2019.

Juan Carlos’ research shows that, while ESNS has a 50/50 policy, an average of about 80% of the artists booked via the ESNS Exchange programme is male, whereas only 20% is female. For example, in 2019, 40% of the ESNS line-up was female, but this is not represented in the acts booked through the ESNS Exchange programme - 83% of these booked acts were male.

Gender distribution among performers - ESNS Exchange 2019
Gender distribution among performers - ESNS Exchange 2019

This discrepancy in representation raises questions, of course. How can there be such a big difference? One of the possible reasons is the gender gap within booking agencies. The expectation is that the gender distribution within these companies could be disproportionate, which could explain the discrepancy in representation on stage. This explanation requires further research.

The students presented their results at the ESNS conference in January 2023 and also at the Music Matters event in March 2023.

Further research

In September 2023, a new group of students will start their research projects. Possible research questions are:

  • What is the gender distribution within booking agencies? Are there disproportionate distributions and could these discrepancies explain the results of Juan Carlos’ research? What are the motivations of the bookers when they book the acts through the exchange programme of ESNS? Which choices do they make?
  • How diverse are other festivals in Europe, like Glastonbury, Reading Festival, Leeds Festival and Rock am Ring? Do we see the same patterns at these festivals?
  • Are there measuring methods based on diversity that are useful for ESNS? Can we standardize these methods to such an extent that we can compare multiple different events?
  • To what extent does this issue play a role in non-western European countries? Which issues do Eastern-European countries prioritize?
  • How do various festivals communicate their diversity policies? How can this be seen on their website and social media?
  • Living Lab: How diverse is the ESNS audience? Is the ESNS audience representative of the demographic characteristics of the wider European/Dutch audience?
  • How diverse are the Live Europe Music Venues (partnered clubs of ESNS)? How do they relate/compare to the ESNS programme?
Last modified:29 September 2023 1.18 p.m.
View this page in: Nederlands