Freemuse was all over the camping and festival grounds of 2017’s Roskilde Festival in Denmark (25 June – 1 July) engaging the approximately 130,000 visitors in learning about the inequality that female artists, including musicians, face in the art world, as well as the discrimination women face as being part of audiences experiencing art.
While festivalgoers were setting up camp in the days before the main musical programme, Freemuse set up its “Censored Music Sound Station” equipped with headphones playing music of censored female artists. People were also able to watch video interviews of artists speaking about the reality that female artists face all over the world.
Freemuse was there to answer the festivalgoers’ questions and talk about artistic freedom.
Hey girl, are you allowed to sing here?
During the camp setup days and the main musical programme, two Freemuse flash mob teams clad in “Let Women Sing” t-shirts and masks travelled around the festival grounds to meet festivalgoers.
These roving teams placed informational stickers on people’s shirts, backpacks, hats, chairs, tents, coats and ponchos – for the many rainy days of the festival – and talked to them about these issues of inequality.
One of the stickers informed festivalgoers that only 18% of the artists booked to perform at Roskilde in 2017 were women – whether playing solo or part of a mixed gender band; while the other told the story of Zohra Orchestra, the Freemuse Award-winning, all-women orchestra in Afghanistan that is defying social and cultural norms.
The people Freemuse met were surprised to hear that women were not able to perform their art in certain places around the world and that so few female artists were performing at one of Europe’s largest music festivals.
The flash mob teams then asked festivalgoers which female artists they would like to see in their “Dream Roskilde Female Lineup”. Freemuse gathered over 900 names of female artists that it will present to Roskilde to help build its 2018 lineup. The top three names submitted were Beyonce, Rihanna and Missy Elliott.
During its activities, Freemuse ran into the cast of SKAM, Norway’s international hit teen drama, who wore their stickers throughout the festival.
Freemuse also interviewed several artists, including Afghanistan’s first female rapper Paradise Sourori, electronic artist/activist Madame Ghandi, Danish singer Fallulah, and Norwegian singer/activist Moddi, which will be featured in an upcoming video.
Banners, stickers, faces everywhere
By the time the main musical programme started on 28 June, hundreds of people were wearing Freemuse’s campaign stickers.
The flash mob teams, in their iconic masks and shirts, were being constantly recognised. People ran up to the teams to give them more suggestions for female artists and to tell them that they have been talking to their friends about these female-focussed issues for artists and audiences.
Throughout the festival grounds there were banners highlighting the collaboration between Freemuse and Roskilde, showing the women of the Zohra Orchestra.
Freemuse’s activities were also featured in a cover story of Orange Press, the official daily newspaper of the festival.