A frequent criticism that festival line-ups appear to attract virtually every year is their seemingly poor commitment to achieving anywhere near equal gender representation of those performing. Accordingly, social media witnesses a yearly practice of editing festival posters to remove male performers. This visual representation is a reminder of the degree of male dominance within musical events. This year has followed a notably similar pattern, however a local organisation remains dedicated in their commitment to tackling this systemic issue and the perceptions associated with it. 

Girls Rock London is dedicated to combating the gender imbalance seemingly ingrained into how the UK music industry operates. They dedicate importance to engaging and empowering girls and women. In a document entitled “Why We exist” on their website, the organisation details their objective; “to tackle the issue of women’s representation in music, and low well-being of girls and women by providing activities for girls and women where they can learn skills which improve their confidence and give them the skills to carry on making music.” Together with this commitment, they acknowledge the gravity of ensuring public awareness regarding the issue, and utilise their platform to raise awareness of the gender imbalance within the UK music industry. The organisation coordinates a six day music project in which girls between the ages of 11 and 16 "develop the tools to write their own song", which culminates in a performance to an audience of family and friends. Girls engaging in the project are provided with the opportunity to "work on and perform vocals, as well as learning the basics in guitar, bass, drums, electronics or keyboard." Each participant is consequently allocated a particular instrument to focus on during the week, developing their abilities and confidence.  The camp additionally acknowledges the significance of enhancing the self esteem of participants, and therefore includes various workshops targeted specifically to this element.

Regardless of intent, the vast majority of festivals appear to struggle considerably when tasked with curating a line-up representing gender equity. This can easily be dismissed as festivals simply trying to appeal to those potentially attending by booking on the basis of musical popularity, which is predominantly male. However, this simply means that the imbalance is demonstrative of a deeper issue regarding the reasoning behind male dominance within music. However, on the surface, this decidedly poor representation retains a notably unwelcoming message to young women optimistic about the prospect of pursuing a career in music, that this is not for them. This year, at Reading festival, of the 91 artists in the first announcement, only 20 are female or feature women. By tackling this issue at its roots, the organisation assumes a crucial role both in providing a medium for expression and empowerment as well as altering the perceptions surrounding women’s success in music.

The advocacy of organisations such as Girls Rock London is critical in ensuring there is  pressure placed upon large festivals through exposing their flawed representation and empowering young women.