Statement on the “On The Precipice – Festivals” Panel Discussion
We want to address concerns that have arisen regarding the Unsound online discussion on festivals that took place on Friday. When we planned the discussion and selected participants for it, we were aiming for a range of key issues facing festivals and the music industry to be engaged with – including, importantly, diversity and racism.
It is clear that racism was not addressed in the way it should have been, in spite of a direct attempt by Frankie Decaiza Hutchinson of Dweller to bring these issues into the discussion. It should not have been her responsibility. We regret the panel’s failings and would like to publicly apologise to Frankie. It is not the responsibility of BIPOC to do the work of calling out and correcting systemic racism, this is something that should be an integral aspect of all festivals.
The failure of the panel overall underscores the obvious need for festivals to consciously work harder to ensure their programming is more diverse – something Unsound has long attempted to realise, and will continue to do. It is also clear that festivals need to engage diverse voices on a curatorial level. This is true across the entire music industry. As members of festival networks – including We Are Europe, SHAPE and ICAS – we all have an obligation to speak up on these matters internally, as well as in public.
We wish to state clearly that Unsound stands in solidarity with BIPOC artists and members of the music industry who are attempting to change the way things are. Moving forward, we intend to show – as we always have, through bookings, discussions and other means – that action speaks louder than words.