After learning they were paid 10 times less than a male act for a festival performance, Jewish sister band Haim fired their booking agent. They did not name the festival, nor their agent, but they expressed their frustration with how things went down.

In an interview with Grazia, they explain:

They’re patently aware of just how lucky they are to have each other (‘We’re a fortress,’ says Este, 32). Yet they’ve still repeatedly been burnt by a sexist industry – especially when it’s come to equal pay. Last year, they found out they had been paid 10 times less than a male artist at a festival – despite being just one space below on the line-up.

‘We had been told that our fee was very low because you played at the festival in the hope that you’d get played on the radio,’ explains Danielle. ‘We didn’t think twice about it, but we later found out that someone was getting paid 10 times more than us. And because of that we fired our agent.’

Alana, suddenly searingly serious adds, ‘That’s why I love my sisters so much. I trust them with my fucking life. We’re all in this together. But it’s scary out there and it’s fucked up. It’s fucked up not even to be paid half the same amount. But to be paid a tenth of that amount of money? It was insane.’

It’s the first time the girls have disclosed the incident, and they’re clearly still furious. The worst part, Danielle goes on, is that they can’t even be sure it won’t happen again. ‘It’s so hard to check: everything’s so secretive about how much people are getting paid, and that’s bullshit.’

The story has been picked up by almost every major music news site: PitchforkConsequence of Sound, NME, Dazed, and more. Hopefully Haim speaking out will make festivals and bookers think twice before undervaluing female performances.

Music festivals around the world struggle with gender equality in general — in 2017, only 20% of festival  headliners were female. We’re all for changing that, one Jewish sister band at a time.

Header image via HAIM on Facebook.

Emily Burack

Emily Burack is an editorial assistant at Alma.