Shura and SOAK to headline plus KT Tunstall, Toya Delazy, BETTY, LANTA, Saara Aalto and more…

BY DANIELLE MUSTARDE. PHOTO: TOYA DELAZY BY ROSIE POWELL

That’s right, people – DIVA Music Festival is back, bigger and even better than last year… On top of that, the full, 100% female/non binary line-up has been revealed and we can not wait.

Curated by festival co-founder Heather Peace and rainbow-coloured braces-wearing (lest we forget) singer-songwriter KT Tunstall, DIVA Music Festival – a bespoke festival created solely by women with the aim of platforming female talent – this year takes place in Dorset from the 11-14 October 2019.

“I am incredibly proud to be a founding supporter of the DIVA Music Festival,” KT Tunstall told DIVA. “It is an enormous challenge to launch a new music festival, and with only approximately 19% of festival acts having a female member, vastly more challenging to do so with an all-female line up.

“By being a curator at this year’s DIVA festival, I am thrilled to be able to play my part in working towards gender equality on festival line-ups.”

DIVA Music Festival co-founder Heather Peace performing at DMF 2018. Photo Rosie Powell.

So who’s headlining, I hear you all ask. Well, first up it’s Friday night’s headliner, aka Manchester synth-pop, “friendly neighbourhood lesbian, vaping pop” babe-a-tron, Shura. If you haven’t already, make sure you check out new album Forevher due out next month. Her latest single religion (you can lay your hands on me) is a right bop.

(And if you didn’t catch her Glastonbury 2019 performance complete with #PrideNuns, seek it out friends – those sisters are truly glorious).

Headlining Saturday, it’s equally edgy mercury-nominated singer-songwriter SOAK, aka Bridie Monds-Watson. A once “teenage prodigy”, 22-year-old SOAK has just released second album Grim Town a melancholic and dream-filled record full of heartbreak anthems made for the DIVA Music Festival main stage.

Coming to DIVA Music Festival fresh from her US TV debut on the Late Night Show With Seth Meyers (below), you’ll be swooning and swaying to this Derry-born dreamboat and her ever-so BBC Radio 6-friendly tunes in no time.

As well as headliners Shura and SOAK, #DMF2019 will host some of the best performers from across the world including a DJ set from festival curator KT Tunstall; X Factor and Eurovision singer Saara Aalto; 4x UK beatbox champion turned electro-pop queen Grace Savage; The L Word’s “house band” BETTY; stand-out Glastonbury star GEoRGiA and synth star Ariana & The Rose (whose track True Love’s become a veritable Pride anthem). 

Plus! There’ll be a whole host of live and acoustic acts including the sounds of Cat Burns, LANTA, Lots Holloway, Toya Delazy, Kal Lavelle, LAKY, The Coaltown Daisies, Charlotte Carpenter, Katey Brooks, Xylaroo and more. 

So what’s the aim of the festival? Well, to elevate female musicians into the positions they have rightfully earned, provide a positive space in which to nurture female grassroots talent, and to embrace and champion women both on and off stage (that’s you lot).

We’re biased, of course, but at a time when of all UK festival line-ups in 2018, 70% were all-male bands with just 19% all-female bands and 11% mixed, DIVA Music Festival really is a pioneering festival for women in music.

“Of UK festival line-ups in 2018, 70% were all-male bands”

It’s a space that’s passionate about music fans, rights and equality; bringing the most talented women in music together under one roof in an inclusive and accessible environment. 

“We’re delighted that DIVA Music Festival has joined in with the Keychange pledge, alongside hundreds of festivals worldwide,” Francine Gorman of the Keychange initiative for gender equality adds. 

“It’s really encouraging that major music organisations, independent companies and festivals are demonstrating their commitment to gender equality.”

Drag King Wesley Dykes performing with the Boi Box drag kings in 2018

A joyfully (if we do say so ourselves) bespoke festival with a capacity of just 1500, this really is a unique opportunity to see some of your favourite female and lez/bi artists perform in an intimate and inclusive space.

Fancy it? The festival takes place amongst the Dorset countryside at Sandford Holiday Park with stylish lodges available to book, as well as the option to bring your own campervan or tent. Oh, and it’s also a dog friendly festival, essential lez/bi news, amiright?

See you there, folx.

For full details on tickets prices, accommodation and accessibility head to divamusicfestival.com. Follow the festival on social media @divamusicfestival and #divamusicfestival

Only reading DIVA online? You’re missing out. For more news, reviews and commentary, check out the latest issue. It’s pretty badass, if we do say so ourselves.

divadigital.co.uk // divadirect.co.uk // divasub.co.uk


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