Women typically make up about half the attendees of any given music festival, yet seldom does the line-up of performers reflect the demographic of the audience. Electronic festivals have been especially notorious for being one of the music businesses’ largest boys club. However, women’s voices are uniting and loudly requesting a shift. What women want, it would seem, is more female musicians sharing the stage.
Progressive programming is responding and breaking down the barriers for women in music and entertainment, according to Ben Howells, production manager at Atmosphere Gathering festival.
“As an event, we pride ourselves on featuring a truly unique combination of music from all around the world,” he says. “It’s not difficult to include a massive percentage of female artists, cultural performances, and great Canadian acts. There are just so many to choose from.”
He also proudly points out that Atmosphere’s core team of coordinators is more than 50 percent women. It’s no surprise that the production, design, décor, and general vibe is one of thoughtful precision.
The female acts at this year’s Gathering are as diverse in style as they are from points on the globe.
This Way North is a two-woman band hailing from Australia. Bandmates Leisha Jungalwalla and Cat Leahy met in Canada and discovered they were neighbours back home. They soon reunited in their Melbourne hood and began playing fantastic music together. Leahy brings solid, groove-based and dynamic power drumming, while Jungalwalla sways with swampy slide guitar, soul-filled vocals, and compelling alt-pop melodies.
The result is a lush, engaging sound that is easy to get caught up in. According to Higgo Triple M Radio, “This Way North plays with energy, passion, and beautifully crafted songs.” Their latest single, Head Above Water, features a slide guitar guiding the dreamy melody over rumbling, pulsating drums. Their playful yet deep connection with each other and the audience draws people in to their onstage world. Punchy, and left of centre, with a universally appealing vibe, This Way North creates an enduring groove-fueled dance experience.
CloZee is a young music producer from Toulouse, France who seamlessly combines technical precision with wild imagination. Something of a prodigy, CloZee (AKA Cloe Herry) started producing electronic music at age 16, and has been playing the guitar since she was 11. She also received the “Best International Newcomer of 2013” at the UK Glitch Hop Awards.
Her tracks defy genres, scillating between world bass, tribal trap, glitch-hop, trip-hop, and downtempo. CloZee has a unique, surprising style, pulling her power from a bold simplicity. Her classical guitar roots allow her an informed melodic space to lay down eclectic electronic sounds in a melting pot of instrumentation and cinematic flair. In a feedback loop of adventure, music and love, CloZee and her legion of fans world-wide are ready to let the force of sound carry everyone to places they have never been before. If you were one of the many to catch her at Shambhala last year, you know it was nothing short of amazing.
From Vancouver, local favourite Kytami is a musical wonder woman. She forged a path so bold and unique that she won “Live Act of The Year” at the 2013 Vancouver Island Music Awards and “Electronic/Dance Recording of the Year” at the 2013 Western Canadian Music Awards.
Through an alchemy of classical fiddle styles, fused with the heavy bass elements of drum ’n’ bass, dubstep and hip hop, Kytami managed to soar above the constraints of musical genres and labeling. After co-founding Delhi2Dublin in 2006, Kytami began pursuing a solo career in 2010, and dubbed a ‘music revolutionary’ by What’s Up Magazine. If a line exists between classical and electronic, between ancient and new age, synthetic and organic, Kytami slices them all using her violin bow.
Cumberland Village Park transforms into the magical community of Atmosphere Gathering.
With so women performers on the bill this year, including Erica Dee, Lady AK, Applecat, Sophia Donai, Marin Patenaude, Cathy Stoyko, and COZY, everyone can come out and support sisters from a wide variety of musical styles.
Tickets, performer bios, and other important info are on the website. Weekend or day passes also available at The Waverley Hotel in Cumberland and Bop City Records in Courtenay.
What are some of your favorite female performers on the bill this year? Are there additional artists you’re looking forward to at Atmosphere Gathering? Share your thoughts in the comments!