HALIFAX – A Halifax indie rock band is pulling out of a Nova Scotia music festival, saying the lineup lacks diversity.
In-Flight Safety frontman John Mullane tweeted that he felt out of sorts after Truro’s Rock the Hub festival revealed a lineup consisting almost entirely of all-male and “nearly all-white” bands.
“The reason I withdrew from the festival was due to a lack of diversity on the lineup in which I was part of the problem, being a white male,” Mullane said in a phone interview Thursday.
He says he found himself apologizing to close friends about the lineup, and decided apologies weren’t enough.
Mullane calls it a small gesture that he hopes will “prompt more critical thinking” when it comes to rock festivals including female and non-white performers.
Mullane says that since going public with the band’s decision, he has received many heartfelt messages of support.
The festival released its August 2018 lineup last week, including rock music heavyweights Sloan, I Mother Earth, Big Wreck and Finger Eleven.
Mullane says he notified coordinators of the festival through his agent on Monday. He says he did so out of respect and so as to “not make it any more difficult for them.”
Rock the Hub released a statement Thursday afternoon that said they respect the band’s views.
“Representation of musicians across race and gender, as a reflection of our diverse community, is an important topic worthy of discussion, and we are open to examining our role in how we can best represent Canadian artists,” the festival’s statement said.
“We want our community to be great, and we will continue to dedicate ourselves to doing our part to make that happen. We appreciate the opportunity to reflect on the feedback, which will inform our current and future decision making.”
In February, four Canadian music events joined an international pledge to fight inequality in the industry by vowing to have gender parity across their lineups by 2022.
Montreal’s electronic music festival Mutek, western Canadian-based conference BreakOut West, and both North By Northeast and Canadian Music Week in Toronto are among 45 global events agreeing to take part in the initiative.
“Some festivals are making changes that are incredible,” Mullane said. “It’s just not happening across the board.”