Milk and Honey Festival: Female and non-binary artists sing out against sexism

She's a barrel of laughs but country singer Tami Neilson is serious when it comes to sexism in the music industry.

Along with 19 other female and non-binary artists performing at this festival she is fighting back.

Fighting against those same old lines the men always seem to trot out to them.

"We've already got a female, like it's a genre of music," she says incredulously.

"You're very, very aware of the very concrete obstacles that you face."

Neilson says taking the stage with fellow wahine is moving inclusivity in the right direction.

"That's a conversation that's so important and it definitely wouldn't have happened five years ago. It's definitely been sparked by movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp."

Usually its men lugging the gear too, but this time crews, from lighting and sound, to stage hands will be mostly women.

Event Organiser, Lani Purkis says it's important to show young girls that every role within the industry is open to them.

She says her life would be very different had she known of all the technical roles.

"My brain's always taken that route and had I known it was a possibility, I think I would've studied that and I would've gone after those opportunities more."

And it all makes for a female-led festival with a unique feel.

Lani is clear, "I'm not saying that we don't like men because we love men and we're raising men but it's just different, you want to be around people like yourself."

In the age of drunk uncles making light of the day of celebration, it's easy to feel cynical.

But Neilson is steadfast in their goal.

"We are empowering women, we're showing the next generation coming up, we can do all of this, it's open to you. It's a safe and amazing place to be."

The festival kicks off tonight night in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

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