AVA Festival is returning to Belfast this summer and you can expect even more than entertainment in the form of the very latest in electronic music and digital arts — you can also expect a real effort to bring equality to the music industry.
While there will be a number of stages at AVA 2018, as well as a variety of workshops and talks at its conference over The Mac, the festival's most innovative component has to be the SMIRNOFF Equalising Music Stage. This new addition will address the serious underrepresentation of women on the electronic music scene — only 17% of headliners at international music festivals were women in 2016 — by offering a line-up with a 50/50 split of male and female acts.
And this isn't SMIRNOFF's first foray into tackling this important issue — far from it.
Last year SMIRNOFF made a pledge to oversee an ambitious, global initiative to double female and female-identifying headliners and inspire the next generation of DJs by 2020. The SMIRNOFF Equalising Music campaign aims to achieve that target by encouraging discussion and highlighting the best female-identifying talents around.
To help the brand reach its goal, SMIRNOFF has enlisted the help of five major DJs: The Black Madonna, Nastia, Peggy Gou, Honey Dijon and Artwork. Right now, these artists are looking for the 10 best undiscovered female and female-identifying DJs, whom they will mentor before giving them the opportunity to perform at either Snowbombing, Lost Village or Printworks later this year.
SMIRNOFF ambassador Honey Dijon — who's renowned for masterfully mixing cross-genre sets incorporating Chicago, New York and European influences — had this to say of the initiative:
"This is a cool campaign, whilst I think it's important to celebrate all new talents, whatever gender, race, religion — whoever they are! But this is a start and a positive move to promote more female and female-identifying artists. And I hope I can share some of my experiences along the way with some people at the beginning of their own journey."
Moxie will appear on the Smirnoff Equalising stage at AVA
To help tackle this issue in Ireland, SMIRNOFF introduced Move The Needle, the name of both a mini-documentary which told the inspirational stories of Ireland’s leading female electronic music talent (like UMFANG and ELLLL) as well as a series of free workshops which introduced more than 100 women to the basics of DJ and production skills across Ireland and Northern Ireland in the summer of 2017.
Pushing the cause even further was SMIRNOFF Equalising Music Dublin, a professional masterclass which took place last December. This involved fifteen novice DJs and producers being selected to
attend the two-day event that featured talks, workshops and networking
opportunities with eight leading musicians from Ireland, including the likes of Sorca McGrath (SHIPS) and Saoirse, and around the world to
help foster female talent in electronic music.
Now here's how SMIRNOFF is bringing more balance to AVA 2018...
SMIRNOFF Equalising Music Stage Line-Up
Some of the finest acts currently in electronic music, both male and female, are set to perform at the two-day festival.
Prepare to be enthralled on Friday evening, as your eyeballs as assailed by spectacular light shows and your eardrums absorb the ferocious beats of Lumen X DSNT, Myler, Ossian, Stephanie Sykes, Rackitt, Cave DJZ B2B Dallas, ELLLL and Cailin.
Once Saturday rolls you'll be drawn in once more by the hypnotic sounds of Twitch, Moxie, Jayda G, DJ Deece, Twitch, Eve, Bekuz X Influx and Lucy Ironmonger.
Venue: S13 Warehouse
Myler takes to the stage on Friday evening at AVA
Smirnoff presents Carving a Career: a DJ workshop with residents Stephanie Sykes, Aalice + Cailín
In this workshop, Female Resident DJs Stephanie Sykes, Aalice and Cailín will discuss how they broke into the industry, the trajectory that their careers have taken and share advice with women who are hoping to follow in their footsteps.
Area: The Den, The Mac
AVA X Smirnoff Presents: The Art of DJ’ing with Mano Le Tough + Saoirse
This one you don’t want to miss! Get top tips on everything from selecting to promoting yourself as an artist to taking care of yourself on tour from two of Ireland's hottest electronic acts.
Area: The Lab, The Mac
Resident DJ Stephanie Sykes will host the Carving a Career workshop
To learn more about SMIRNOFF Equalising Music, click HERE.