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Festival Picks: Women behind the decks

Festival Picks: Women behind the decks

Andrew Kemp | Features & Interviews

It’s no secret that women are underrepresented in electronic music, and all too many festivals, club nights and parties are still heavily male-dominated. With such significant gender inequality in dance music, we’ve decided to celebrate International Women’s Day by looking at a few female and trans selectors who’ve shown that dance music isn’t just a man’s game.

Looking ahead to a festival season that boasts some of the best DJs around, here are five women to catch this summer.

The Black Madonna
If there were dance music Olympics, The Black Madonna would have broken gold medal records this year. Hailed by nearly all who’ve seen her perform as one of the most enthralling, engaging and exciting DJs around, The Black Madonna has been slamming together disco, house, techno and more to create a perfect dancefloor storm with every appearance behind the decks.  No surprise then that she’ll be all over the festival circuit this summer, with sets at Parklife, Lost & Found, Wild Life and more.



Flava D
A strong proponent of the UK urban sounds that she grew up with, Flava D is one of the leading figures in garage and grime, having earned her stripes as a producer and DJ working in alliance with influential grime label Butterz and London’s paramount underground music radio station, Rinse FM. Self-releasing an extremely popular free mix series, she has gained thousands of followers since breaking through in 2013, and is now one of the primary tastemakers in UKG. That means you’re missing out if you don’t see her at Lost & Found, SF17 or Sequences.

Flava D
(Photo courtesy of Flava D)

Donna Leake
It takes a special ear to be musical curator at somewhere with the reputation of Brilliant Corners, but then Donna Leake is a special selector. Digging deep and reaching far to pull out rarities from all over the globe, Donna has become known by those in the know as a master of jazz, funk and soul, and has a record collection matched by very few in terms of diversity and breadth. She’ll go down a treat as she plays Croatian festivals Soundwave and Dimensions.



Honey Dijon
Not only a wonderful DJ interested only in moving forward, Honey Dijon has become one of the most important role models in underground dance music, combining her signature style with a fearless embrace of the politics that comes of being a transgender woman in the public spotlight. Skipping through genres to create sets that are equally suited to shaking a warehouse or soundtracking a catwalk, Honey is a specialist in all things cool, and will be seen when she takes to Farr Festival this summer.

Honey Dijon via Ricardo Gomes
(Photo courtesy of Ricardo Gomes)

Helena Hauff
Electro’s coming back, and there might be no DJ better suited to leading the revival than the Helena Hauff in full flow. An arresting figure with extraordinary energy for deploying outrageously powerful tunes, Helena careers through crashing percussion and snarling synths at breakneck speeds, making her a must-see at both Dimensions and Farr Festival this summer. Easily one of the best products of legendary Hamburg club Golden Pudel, Hauff and her bone-shattering electronics are going to be absolutely ripping dancefloors apart over the coming months.



Ticket Arena would like to thank all of those female artists, DJs, promoters and party goers for doing their thing, and for doing it so well.

Main photo courtesy of The Black Madonna

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