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The Lack of Diversity at Bled Fest • Page 2

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Melody Bot, Apr 22, 2016.

  1. jellyfishfossil


    Speaking of Julien Baker, her EP is one of the best releases of this year. Someone needs to get her more exposure because she definitely deserves it.
  2. Tata Toothy


    What would your solution be?
  3. Jason Tate Apr 23, 2016
    (Last edited: Apr 23, 2016)
    But that's exactly what you do when you ask for a list, and then in your next post, dismiss any suggestion as "not fitting" when that's the exact opposite of how bands already on the bill are looked at. In this (and the next) post you dismiss Julien Baker while Aaron West and Watermedown are on the bill already. Like, come on. This is my entire point about these things are argued and how ridiculous it is. You've created a scenario where any artist named is judged against the headliners and not Prawn, Casey Bolles, Homesafe, Act as One, Pines, or any number of artists that if not on the bill already you could say the exact same thing about. Your entire argument is predicated on a perfect target market and perfect bill crafted to match it 100% — this is a complete fallacy. No such perfection is attainable. This bill is not structured as such. And therefore any argument based upon that premise is flawed from the start.

    Zero, this website only employs me. This is the third or fourth time you've done something sort of like this on the new website and it's really starting to feel very disingenuous to me. Let's start with a few things here, and I'll just use as an example because it was only a month ago, and not this website where I am the only "employee" and will be for the foreseeable future.

    So a statement like this means that for me to best "defend" the accusation I'd have to publicly tell you the number of people that were staff that identify as queer, everyone's race, everyone's gender identity, and I think that's holistically unfair to people that may not want that information released. But it also misses the biggest point of what I've been saying: it's not about numbers or $ or quotas, it's about doing better. I hated how non-diverse our staff was at So I changed it. I went out and hired a diverse staff. Did it make it 50% women? No. Did I still want to do even better? Absolutely. I hated how many in these groups left staff or stopped writing because of how they were treated by members in the forums, so I set out to do better this time on that angle as well. It's a work in progress and some days I do ok, somedays I fail. But it's not about the numbers at the start, it's about having a desire and drive to intentionally do better than what you did in the past. A change doesn't happen over night, and I'm not expecting that from any festival either, but, like @Dominick said earlier, better doesn't happen with a blog post using words like affirmative action and quotes. And by the end, the staff on was very diverse when you look at race, gender, and identity — some publicly, some privately — and it still wasn't up to where I wanted it to be. And it's why when I do start having more contributors here (probably the word I'll use) it will, again, be my goal to make sure we are making progress in diversity and highlighting a diverse range of voices.

    Look at the roster the year before and say we're going to do X better next year, pick what you think X should be and is reasonable, I don't even care what that X is, then you say X*2 better the year after, and X*3 the year after that. Hire people that have that same priority and have the contacts or know who to talk to to find those kinds of artists (I know plenty of people I could even recommend). If you're still struggling to find these bands and artists - find the people that can find them and give them money to do it instead.

    XOXO fest looked at the diversity numbers of attendees and speakers 3 years ago and hated them, so they changed what they were doing, and made it a priority, and if memory services, 2 years ago they had a 40% increase in specific groups, 60% last year, and they still sell out the entire conference in hours. They made it a priority to do better, they measured, they managed, they did better.
  4. Dominick

    Prestigious Prestigious

    If you're arguing that adding more people of color, women, trans and queer folks, etc., isn't the solution, then you're just arguing for segregation. You're saying wait until it is palatable, even if the question of whether they're palatable is discriminatory itself; you're saying, we need to wait until outside forces confer worth upon these groups without acknowledging our responsibility to others. Deferring to the market, moreover, is a way of absolving one's self of responsibility and fails to understand how saturated our institutions are with bigotry, so there needs to be an active fight to change or abolish them. This may mean giving less predominantly white, cis-gendered, male bands a chance; it may mean taking time in selecting your line-up; it may mean women of color exclusive events and so on. It does mean taking away opportunities for white men and giving them to others, though the former has so many avenues of expression, it seems to me that they will be okay in the long run.
  5. SoundwaveUproar

    Regular Prestigious

    I didn't create an argument where all artists are judged against the headliner though, because in one of my posts (i think a couple actually) I did specifically say what female artists I would go after to get on this kind of festival based on the other bands on the lineup. I could have dropped names like Walls of Jericho for the female aspect and they'd fit well enough with BDM, but I said Slingshot Dakota and Allison Weiss because they're (to me) geared more towards the demographic of the show. It's not about the blend being perfect, its about trying to make things as seamless as possible and I think a lot of shows are hesitant to make any major change because of reservations in regards to rocking the boat in regards to casual music fans.

    This site currently has (roughly) 6000 active participants. we are clearly the outliers in this regard because we all actively and consciously think about the issue. Of the 6000 members here how many would go to Bled Fest? 50-200? I'm not saying this isn't an issue. I 100% agree with you the majority of the time, but I can't get behind the idea of putting female artists on a festival for the sake of putting them on a festival like this (factoring talent as being irrelevant. again, I love Baker, and I would totally see her, but I like you am an outlier) as a solution. We see that Bled Fest clearly has a problem with POC and women in regards to stage representation but if they're unwilling to change in that regard and they are expected to do fairly well from a profit standpoint then why would they change it? cause it's the right thing to do? Ideally they would, but this isn't the ideal were talking about, it's another music festival. And I can understand the reservations they have in trying to book a festival and making it 30-50% bands featuring minorities, that would require a big risky change to them.

    I'd love to see women better represented at these festivals but Bled Fest does not care about that all that much, the majority of the fans there I would argue would not care all that much either. Even if a change was made so that a large portion of female artists were put on stage to fix the issue, it's not a fix. Would the promotion be equal? the way the bands are billed on the lineup? I think the only thing we're actually arguing about is that you think they did a bad job of representing women on their festival and they should change it, and I just see it as to much of a risk unless theyre doing something as your other example did and completely changing their model, which they can and should do but it'll probably only come when the festival has a big enough decline in sales to warrant the change.
  6. Dominick

    Prestigious Prestigious

    They put white dudes in shows and festivals just to fill out space all of the time.
  7. SoundwaveUproar

    Regular Prestigious

    So let me ask you this, yes they put white dudes in shows to fill up space all the time (hell, I cant name 90 percent of this fest's lineup) but if they were to fill say 30 percent of those nothing bathroom break slots with women. Would that actually make anyone happy?

    If you think the problem is just representation then yes it would. But if you think the problem is bigger than that, then just adding females does not create a solution to me, I'm sorry but I just don't buy it.
  8. Dominick

    Prestigious Prestigious

    Why do all your scenarios involve a shittier counterpoint, as though that is the inevitable result? This is a false dichotomy. Why can't they intentionally and carefully organize an event in which marginalized groups are better represented? Representation isn't an end unto itself, we all understand this, but it is part of a broader project that involves undermining these pockets of exclusionary spaces. The festivals that are resistant to this shouldn't exist. Point blank.
    Jacob and Jason Tate like this.
  9. SoundwaveUproar

    Regular Prestigious

    And I agree with this, but I think asking them to change when their model is working for them will lead to failure on our end. Can they? Yes. Should they? Yes. Will they? Probably not, there doesn't seem to be a big enough demand for it (in our scene) except among us. Ideally, new festivals emerge that purposely diversify themselves. Warped Tour has there own justification for the lack of diversity, so does Bled Fest. What it comes down to is politics and money. Bled Fest will not take the risk when the reward is most likely about what they would get without taking the risk. I can see why they wouldn't take the risk without agreeing with them on it. If they were concerned with being a pioneer in this area for our scene it would be a totally different story, but they don't want to be.

    And at this point that is what we need in my eyes.
  10. Dominick

    Prestigious Prestigious

    You miss my point: We should seek to make their model not work, if they refuse to change.
  11. SoundwaveUproar

    Regular Prestigious

    But we are the outlier that cares. We've seen the "Boycott Warped" etc examples all fail. Spreading bad press and awful PR failed. Warped may have downsized, but they certainly didn't diversify. If you intend to make them fail that way, then you're the one that will most likely be the one trying to catch the wind in a net. They need competition in the area, (literally in terms of location, time and demographic)

    If A promoter were to book another festival a month a way from Bled Fest in a similar location but featuring a more diverse lineup a casual music fan would be forced to choose and they would be playing right into the things we are talking about now. Suddenly their is a more conscious festival that people and promoters are forced to pay attention to.
  12. Dominick

    Prestigious Prestigious

    I know you think you're being a realist or something, but, in actuality, this is a form of apathy that concedes ground to the status quo. To quote Frederick Douglass: "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both."

    To that end, having POC-only events, for example, is important. But, established festivals must be held to account as well, otherwise we are tacitly endorsing their practices.
    Jason Tate likes this.
  13. SoundwaveUproar

    Regular Prestigious

    Honestly, I don't want to sound apathetic in the slightest, but I think people are looking at things now in a way that will only lead to their disappointment. I don't want to be submissive and I'm honestly not, but I would like to take the conversation from "why aren't these festivals that are doing well changing" to "why aren't new promoters creating festivals based around this need." I think the need for this is what needs to be promoted. Healthy competition to the established festivals who are unwilling to change. Expecting someone who doesn't want to change to do that on our whim is not going to work to me, but finding someone who wants things to change and has the means to make it into a reality could work. itmay be tough, but the reward would be a potential swift kick in the ass to all of these fests at once.
  14. mercury

    modern-day offspring fanatic Supporter

    Yes! That would make me really happy. I'd be over the moon if that happened.

    Adding more underrepresented parties to lineups to make them more diverse is the only acceptable fix. "Make more festivals that focus on diversity" is not the same as taking established ones and opening them up to more people. It's not outlandish to want existing festivals to do a better job. The end goal isn't "white dude festivals over here and diverse festivals over there." The end goal is for all festivals to be more diverse (though some women- and POC-focused festivals would be pretty cool, too).

    Established festivals tend to have existing customer bases and are more likely to continue and be successful than new festivals. Making new festivals doesn't help to better what's going on at Warped Tour or Bled Fest or (insert other festival name here). Talking about how to make changes in existing festivals, though - now that's a discussion worth having. Talking about how to get more diverse acts attention in the existing industry - also a discussion worth having.

    Serious question: am I missing something about Bled Fest's "target audience"? I'm not quite sure what the target audience for a festival headlined by both BDM and Kevin Devine would be, except for "all sorts of people who like all sorts of different music."
  15. Dominick

    Prestigious Prestigious

    There are plenty of festivals, many of which are predominantly white precisely because of your perspective, so the idea of compeition actually doesn't solve anything. You're buying into a common-sense that is intrinsically exclusionary and represents a broader tendency within the community. If the dominant festivals aren't challenged, along with building our own independent events, then we aren't addressing the problem head-on.
    AndrewSoup and Jason Tate like this.
  16. Jason Tate Apr 23, 2016
    (Last edited: Apr 23, 2016)
    Yes you did. Which is why I specifically said I thought listing artists was pointless, because it misses the entire point I was trying to make. Your specific artist examples validated my point.

    You're ignoring my entire point — please go re-read what I wrote.

    These are virtually synonyms.

    Then either 1) say that and don't lie about the reasons, 2) don't make major change — make small changes, then make more small changes, then make more ... that's what makes progress. Your assumptions on reasoning and casual music fans I think are both specious at best.

    I think trying to pretend that this forum's less than 1 month existence is representative of who, or how much, someone cares about an issue is ridiculous. I wouldn't even use the literal millions of people that visited the website over the past 4 weeks for such a metric. Either way, an argument of apathy is not an argument for maintaining the status quo.

    Completely irrelevant, but I know with relative certainty that more than 200 people that visit this website would go to Bled Fest if they could.

    You keep ignoring everything I say and it makes me repeat myself and that just starts to irritate me. I'll just quote what I said last time:

    You dismiss Julien Baker while Aaron West and Watermedown are on the bill already. Like, come on. This is my entire point about these things are argued and how ridiculous it is. You've created a scenario where any artist named is judged against the headliners and not Prawn, Casey Bolles, Homesafe, Act as One, Pines, or any number of artists that if not on the bill already you could say the exact same thing about. Your entire argument is predicated on a perfect target market and perfect bill crafted to match it 100% — this is a complete fallacy. No such perfection is attainable. This bill is not structured as such. And therefore any argument based upon that premise is flawed from the start.

    I'm fine with whatever reason they would like to use as a "why." Because they want to be more representative of the culture and music scene, because they want the PR points, because they want to be better people, because they want to skate to where the puck is headed and not where it was, I really don't care what the why is - I'm saying they should do better for the reasons I've already given. In this specific case they see there's a big enough issue that they're addressing it on Facebook and in blog posts, so even if the "why" is because it makes good PR and business sense, fine, whatever.

    No one said do that. I'll quote from my last post again:
    Look at the roster the year before and say we're going to do X better next year, pick what you think X should be and is reasonable, I don't even care what that X is, then you say X*2 better the year after, and X*3 the year after that. Hire people that have that same priority and have the contacts or know who to talk to to find those kinds of artists (I know plenty of people I could even recommend). If you're still struggling to find these bands and artists - find the people that can find them and give them money to do it instead.

    I flatly reject the idea that it's a "big risky change" to focus on doing better in terms of diversity in booking festivals and think it's wrong to argue against an argument of 50% change in one year that no one even made.

    It's irrelevant to the point.

    If that's what you think my argument is you're flat out not reading the words I type and it's really, really frustrating to keep repeating myself.
  17. Jason Tate Apr 23, 2016
    (Last edited: Apr 23, 2016)
    I really think some people look at the name and think it's like ... hardcore metal only or something.

    This is on the bill:

    Which is at ... what 20k views? Since last June? None of his videos have over 35k views on YouTube that I can see.

    Julien Baker's NPR sessiosn: 270,753
    Our Vinyl Sessions: 180k

    Official video for sprained ankle since October: 141,913

    Making any argument that Bolles is more of a draw to the "casual" music fan is ridiculous. That she's the outlier? Please.

    Watermedown? One EP that barely anyone has even heard yet? No argument can be made that that's somehow a financially motivated better draw than ANY band. Barely 2k Twitter followers. There's a better chance I draw at that festival than him.

    /Getting frustrated at how flat out ignorant people are with their justifications. Haha.
    AndrewSoup and Jacob like this.
  18. SoundwaveUproar

    Regular Prestigious

    Because of my perspective that we need to look at additional aspects of this besides "We want women and minorities better represented at your festivals!" and the constant response that we get which is "Well, we feel we're doing a good job because bad reason AB and C" or the just as bad response of "why should we even have to look at this when booking our festival."

    Maybe my idea of competition won't solve anything, but I've yet to see all of what was done on AP.Net or here so far have any drastic, long lasting effects. Can you be optimistic that they can be steering things the right way? sure, because you're after a good cause (hell, honestly, were after the same cause here). But doing what I have seen done before has lead to where we are now which can more or less be summed up as this: These festivals do not see enough of a benefit to them to warrant a change. We can yell loudly at them, and threaten to take our business elsewhere, but unfortunately the next festival is probably just as bad as the previous. "I won't go to bled fest...or warped tour.... or Skate and Surf, none of these fests get my money!!!" You can't change people that don't want to change themselves and regardless of the millions of people Jason Tate says this website gets in unique visitors (according to his most recent post against me.) I'm still willing to bet regardless how much of an uproar we raise they will get there money from someone that doesn't care about the issue as we do. I just don't think I'm on the same wavelength as any of you in regards to how people are going about getting a solution.
  19. AelNire

    @RiotGrlErin Prestigious

    So..if we're not going to see immediate/big change the cause isn't worth fighting for? Thats what I'm getting out of your posts..and it's just not true.
    Jason Tate likes this.
  20. SoundwaveUproar

    Regular Prestigious

    I mean, even this guy (this was my first time seeing a song of his despite seeing the name around a bunch) I'd image he would draw the same crowd as that clown Front Porch Step did. He has the whole honest pop punk whiny persona about him. He fills that niche that FPS would have had locked up if he wasn't his own issue. But to say he doesn't fit well with the demographic as FPS would have and did in the Knuckle Puck, Pentimento area of pop punk is just wrong do me. Not that he would draw better than Baker at ever festival but at this festival and with this lineup I honestly don't know. If you think you do than that's good, you're minds a lot more made up then mine on how a lot of this stuff can and should work.

    I am not trying to justify this for myself. I don't have one interest or another in bled fest outside of this specific issue. Its to far for me to travel to for sure. But I definitely see where they were going with that guy. If Baker was put there I wouldn't get it. I'd see her, but I wouldn't understand why she was there because these festivals are a brand, they attach their names to artists and even though I really like her, Bled Fest attaching their name to here would just seem off to me. Lollapallooza? Sure. Coachilla? absolutely. Bled Fest? I wouldn't get it.
  21. I literally never said that.
  22. SoundwaveUproar

    Regular Prestigious

    Again, I'm not saying the fight isn't worth fighting for. I'm saying sometimes a fastball pitcher has to throw a slider because his fastball keeps getting hammered. People can fight for this however they see fit, and I hope to see more diverse festivals in the future, that doesn't change the fact that people are going about things in a way where i dont see them accomplishing what they're after.
  23. Dominick

    Prestigious Prestigious

    Eleven years ago, it was okay to be anti-gay and there was a lot of profit in anti-gay stereotypes.

    Four years ago, white people still thought institutional racism and abusive cops were a myth.

    Up until recently, we didn't have discussions about gender and consent.

    Transwomen and men were often used as jokes in films or as predators on straight men. An ESPN commentator was just fired for being transphobic.

    These problems still exist. They're part of a broader, systemic issues that can't be changed right here and right now. But, things have changed minutely for the better and not on their own. They changed through years and years of work, through hammering open spaces from which they were excluded, by opening up their own spaces and challenging all outlets for respect and recognition of their humanity. Rosa Parks didn't set off the movement, there was always a movement that did the work until quantitative change transformed into qualitative change. This is the sort of work that has to be done on this front and no, it isn't instantaneous, it isn't glamorous, but it can work if people remain dedicated and refrain from throwing their hands up in resignation. It would have been easy for those I mentioned to do so, because, at every step, they were told that things will never change. They didn't listen and the world has changed in ways, both large and small. It is now our job to continue to push those boundaries, to cause ruptures that disrupt that status quo and open up spaces for those who have been neglected or excluded in all aspects of their lives.
  24. Gee, I wonder why I wrote this in one of my first posts:

    The issue I have with this question is what you are effectively asking is for a list of bands to go through and ask they prove their worth, or make an argument for ... when the same is not asked for plenty of bands on these festivals. White dude with a guitar? Beard? That's seen as enough to justify the inclusion and be seen as "would go over well" — no other questions asked. I think starting from that premise is part of the problem. Second, once a band is "on" they're not all of a sudden thrown through a gauntlet of "well, would they actually go over well?" — look at the bottom of the bill — plenty of bands sitting there that are no better or worse than countless others you could find by browsing bandcamp for an hour. It's not like every single artist top-to-bottom is a 100% winner with thousands of fans — there's plenty already on the bill that aren't going to go over that well.

    And then what happened? Exactly what I predicted.
    AelNire likes this.
  25. SoundwaveUproar

    Regular Prestigious

    So you're establishing that he does fit in there? So then why bring him up? My argument was Baker doesn't fit. Your response to someone else is "he says Baker doesn't fit because shes not the target market, but this person here is there who is ways less popular." He fits the target market for this festival I dont think she does. Can't help it.