Features

Meet the founder of Waltham Forest’s first all-female music festival

We speak to the founder of a new festival exclusively showcasing women DJs and artist at Signature Brew on 1st October

Talia Andrea, Credit: FEMMESTIVAL

A new one-day festival at Signature Brew, Blackhorse Road is attempting to close the gap women face in UK festival lineups by exclusively showcasing female artists. 

The 18+ festival will run from 1pm-11:30pm on Sunday 1st October and consist of six female artists, and four women DJs on the decks throughout the day.

Some of the names who’ll be taking the stage are rising singer-songwriter Inés Rae, whose folky, DIY-style songs have appeared on TV soundtracks from Emily in Paris to Love Island; indie-pop star Molly Burman, who performed at Finsbury Park’s Community Festival last year; and futuristic alt-pop artist Coupdekat, who is also a co-founder of the London-based all-female music collective, ‘Loud LDN’.

The festival’s founder, Talia Andrea, was inspired to set up FEMMESTIVAL after finding she was often the only woman in the room while working as a music journalist and concert promoter at university.

The 21-year-old would rarely find women working in behind-the-scenes music roles such as audio-visual technicians and wondered why even audiences at local gigs she attended were often predominately male.

Talia was also motivated to put together the festival upon reading a BBC study that revealed only 13% of the UK’s festival headliners in 2022 were women.

The Echo asked Talia about her experience of putting  together the inaugural edition of the festival.

What has putting on this festival been like for you?

It’s been a really valuable experience. As with any project, some elements of the planning stage have been challenging, but this has easily been balanced out with how rewarding it’s also been.

During the period where applications were open for performance slots at this year’s festival, I received a lot of emails saying how much the applicants loved the idea of the festival, and how it’s something that they’ve really wanted and needed to happen. It means a lot to me to know that my grassroots project has already had an impact on women in London’s music industry, and I hope it will be able to continue to grow and reach more.

What do you say to people who might respond to this festival by saying: ‘There aren’t any festivals that exclude women performers so what’s the need?” or ‘excluding  male artists is discriminatory’?

FEMMESTIVAL is an acknowledgement of this gender imbalance which continues to be upheld within the music industry, and an effort to provide these opportunities for visibility, representation and career progression for female and non-binary artists, which they continue to miss out on.

Secondly, it’s crucial not to take the intention of the festival out of context, or decenter it from what it is fundamentally about: this being women in the music industry. FEMMESTIVAL is not at all about excluding men — it’s about uplifting and celebrating women. It’s as straightforward as that.

What should festival attendees expect? 

My priority for this festival has been fostering a sense of community. I hope that our festival attendees will come with an open mind, and with the intention to really engage with those around them, and I hope that they’ll leave having made strong, lasting connections — whether professional or personal.

Of course, they should also expect ten amazing live performances from some of London’s most up-and-coming female artists and DJs! We’ll also have some female-led creative workshops to get involved with on a drop-in basis, and a virtual gift bag exclusive to FEMMESTIVAL attendees, where they’ll have access to discounts and freebies from a range of female-focused brands.

Credit: FEMMESTIVAL

You can find out more information on FEMMESTIVAL’s website, or on their Instagram page

Tickets to this year’s FEMMESTIVAL can be purchased on DICE


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