Festa do Jazz
A case study on gender (im)balance in Portuguese jazz
Keywords:Women in jazz, Portugal, festival
Since 2003, each year for three days, the cultural heart of Lisbon becomes a unique space, adopted and shaped by a diverse jazz ecology. Festa do Jazz is a jazz festival which showcases Portuguese artists, hosts a national jazz schools’ competition, and provides an annual space for debates on the state of jazz in the country. Festa do Jazz emerged as a multidimensional experience and celebration of Portuguese jazz in a country still reinventing itself as a modern democracy, and within an ever changing and challenging European context as a European Union member-state. It became the first annual and regular large-scale event to bring together different generations of the Portuguese jazz ecology. More importantly, it was accepted and embraced by that ecology as the national platform for debating the ways in which they could promote gender balance, multigenerational interchange and social inclusion through jazz. In this article, the representation of female musicians at Festa do Jazz is analysed. The study was conducted combining dialogic ethnography and quantitative and comparative analysis of all occurrences of female participation in Festa, from 2003 to 2018. Results show overwhelming evidence of gender imbalance and an extremely low participation of female artists and students in what is broadly accepted as the most important showcase of jazz talent in Portugal.
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