Grieg forskerskole i interdisiplinære musikkstudier


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Invited Speaker

Sarah Raine

Disrupting the Great Jazz Men?: Gender, music festivals and jazz in the UK and Ireland


Music festivals offer a valuable glimpse into the state of the current musical landscape. Through them we can follow the career trajectories of particular artists, spot genre trends and divergences, identify connections and differences, and make sense of emerging scenes. Equally, music festivals lay bare the continued inequalities that exist; inclusions and absences evident through festival line-ups, and posters providing inspiration for public debate and the fuel for change. For scholars, festivals offer a context through which to examine the complex politics of music, condensed into a specific time and place yet engaging with global trends and debates, with international artists and audiences, with the past and the future, all within the economic and social context of the music industries. And during the COVID-19 pandemic, we could clearly see through music festivals the worldwide disruption of live music as we have previously known it, the government-driven lockdowns and social distancing regulations bringing an abrupt halt to live performance and putting the survival of many music festivals in doubt. Significantly, this period of disruption extended also to the outreach, education, artist development, and overall strategies of festival teams, to include festival-driven and global attempts to address the substantial gender imbalance evident within the music industries. In this talk, I consider the gender politics of the UK and Irish jazz scenes from the festival stage through two major research projects and interviews with jazz musicians on their gendered experiences of the scene. I finish by posing the question: how can we build a more diverse, inclusive and sustainable jazz scene in a post-pandemic world?

Key Questions

  1. What is the role of the jazz festival?

  2. How have jazz festivals responded to the COVID-19 pandemic context, and what does this mean for inclusion and diversity?

  3. How can we build a more diverse, inclusive and sustainable jazz scene in a post-pandemic world?

Recommended Reading


Dr Sarah Raine is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Ethnomusicology at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance (University of Limerick) and an Associate Lecturer at Edinburgh Napier. Sarah’s published research considers issues of gender and generation, authenticity and identity, and the construction of the past and present in popular music scene and industry. In addition to a range of articles and book chapters, she is the author of Authenticity and Belonging in the Northern Soul Scene (Palgrave Macmillan: 2020) and the co-editor of Towards Gender Equality in the Music Industry (with Catherine Strong, Bloomsbury Academic: 2019) and The Northern Soul Scene (with Tim Wall and Nicola Watchman Smith, Equinox Publishing: 2019). Sarah is also the co-Managing Editor of Riffs and acts as a Book Series Editor for Equinox Publishing (Music Industry Studies / Icons of Pop Music) and the Editor for Jazz Research Journal with Nic Pillai.