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Ladies Present: PandoraFest Sets Out Its Stall

This July, The Medieval Village at Duncarron near Stirling will host PandoraFest, Scotland’s first music festival featuring predominantly female artists, and it’s a damning indictment of prevailing male attitudes and behaviour that it’s become necessary at all.

Festival founder Caroline Daalmeijer and her team have put together a one-day celebration of female musicianship that is both deliriously diverse and ambitiously international in scope. If you set gender aside, as surely you must, then you will see that the programme is as representative of our post-Spotify cross-fertilized music scene as any event anywhere.

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But Pandora has grown out of a very real need to separate the real men from the morons, and set up a stall for women in music that is ring-fenced by respect. Apart from under-representation of female acts at festivals, there is also the wider issue of an abusive mindset in play.

For example, the inception of PandoraFest prompted a recent piece by Kate Lloyd in Time Out that is frankly shocking to observers like 1320Radio which champion music as a civilizing influence.

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As Lloyd observed, “ The Isle of Wight Council has been running a tent at Bestival for four years with the aim of raising awareness about consent as well as providing a space for victims of assault to talk to sexual violence advisors. Isle of Wight organiser Fleur Gardiner explains that sexual assault at festivals is both very present and massively under-disclosed: ‘Things that you just wouldn’t get away with on the high street or on the beach seem to go unremarked upon.’ ”

It may be that the anti-social element constitutes a minority that is unrepresentative, but the prehistoric attitudes they personify are clearly prevalent enough to warrant setting up a counselling and advice centre at a pop music festival. It’s unlikely to be a feature at Glyndebourne however, and it certainly won’t be an issue at PandoraFest. The festival is far from exclusive, and the male fraternity are welcomed with open arms, but they’d do well to remember that manners maketh the man, especially when ladies are present.

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The line-up for the event, which takes place on Saturday 16.7.16, features several bright new faces such as Erin MacAvoy, Lisa Kowalski and Amelia Ceasar, alongside sound artist Poulomi Desai, and the esoteric Emaline Delapaix. There is fresh funk from Dundee’s own One More, startling future music from Vodun and seasoned compositions from Dutch doyenne of song Mathilde Santing.

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The festival headliners are The Courtesans who do exactly what it says on their tin-full of carefully manicured hashtags. So, if you’re into #doom #pop #triphop #rock & #metal of a Midsummer Night’s Eve, then they’re your riotus gurrls.

1320Radio caught up with PandoraFest organiser Caroline Daalmeijer, and put a number of burning questions to her, which she answered at length in the most measured way. The Q and A can be found here and makes for very interesting reading.

The extensive list of artists performing at PandoraFest can be found on the festival website, which includes all you need to know about ticketing, access and overnight camping. There are also some intriguing photographs of the medieval village site, surely one of the most unusual locations for a music festival anywhere in the world.

PandoraFest takes place on Saturday 16th July 2016 at Duncarron Medieval Village, 27 High St, Kincardine, Denny FK6 5JL  10:30am til 12:00am. No age restrictions.

Duncarron is the complete reproduction of a fortified village from the early Middle Ages of Scotland. It is the reconstruction of a typical residence of a Scottish Clan Chief from the early part of the last millennium.

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