TradFest believes in ‘Trad without Frontiers’ – that traditional music has no one definition and belongs to no one people. We are committed to trad that progresses and expands to reflect the rapidly diversifying and multicultural Ireland while also respecting the richness of its history. To do our part in ensuring this future we are committed to investigating issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion as they take place in our own festival. We believe that the best way to ensure everyone feels a sense of belonging in traditional music is to hold ourselves accountable in the areas that we need to improve. We’re in the research phase just now, and our goal is to have a robust equity, diversity, and inclusion toolkit by 2022. This toolkit will highlight the most immediate areas in need of improvement and will be revisited annually to ensure TradFest remains a site for progress within traditional music.
TradFest has a zero-tolerance policy regarding harassment of performers, audience members, and all staff (festival, venue, ticketing etc.). This policy includes sexual and race-based harassment – both verbal and non-verbal – as well as discrimination of any kind. In signing this contract, parties commit to upholding this policy, alerting relevant staff of any issues that may transpire. For your protection, we request you disclose any possible concerns or threats to your well-being in advance of the festival. This allows us to maintain a safe festival space for you and your audience. Any information you disclose will be handled with the utmost discretion by festival staff and venue security. More information regarding TradFest’s anti-harassment policy and protections for artists will be published in the following weeks.
As a part of our mission to progress equity, diversity, and inclusion at TradFest, the graphics below show gender representation in all our headline acts from 2006 -2022 including our streamed Dublin Castle Sessions (2021). Here, headline acts are any event a patron would buy a ticket to see. These numbers represent the total number of men and women on stage.* We have excluded large volunteer groups (DIT Orchestra, UCD Choral Scholars, etc.) because those skew data for paid/professional musicians. To date, all our artists have publicly identified as cisgender, however we look forward to adding more gender categories for future performers. We should note here, there is no database revealing a breakdown of the number of men, women, gender fluid, or non-binary trad and folk musicians either in Ireland or abroad. However, we do know there is evidence of systemic exclusion faced by many non-cisgendered and non-male performers. Festivals are an important part of the musical ecosystem in Ireland and there is evidence that they are an effective vehicle for challenging systemic exclusion on multiple fronts. With this gender report and the comprehensive report to follow, TradFest is committed to being a vehicle for change.
CHARTS depict number of paid (cis) men and women artists on stage at each headline show (see below)
HEADLINE SHOW – an event a patron would buy a ticket for.
*Volunteer performers (Church choirs, student orchestras, etc.) are not included
DATA is derived from archived festival programs and media from 2006-2022 by Emma Grove and has been corroborated by Dr. Aileen Dillane and Dr. Sarah Raine of the FestiVersities project