These posters perfectly illustrate the gender problem at music festivals
In the decade or so that they’ve become the shining beacon of the music business, music festivals have created their own unique spheres of influence: On fashion, on modern pilgrimages to weekend-long festival sites, on methods of recreation, and on the public perception of what acts and sounds are gaining ascendence. Despite the differences in curated sounds and styles (ex. Coachella’s “boho chic” vs. Glastonbury’s mud-fueled chaos vs. Electric Daisy Carnival’s neon laser bacchanal), all of these festivals have one thing in common: Gender disparity in their performing acts.
The Guardian recently published edited festival lineups for the UK’s biggest festivals to only include acts that had at least one woman. Our friends at Teen Vogue then applied the same logic to many of the big American summer festivals.
The results were, shall we say, conclusive:
Of course, the big question: Why does this matter? Well, music festivals are ridiculously influential on consumer taste and artist exposure, and exist as a showcase of the “best of” what the industry has to offer. These are the artists that labels are putting the most money toward, and that festivals think are the most bankable — and the fact that most of them are men reinforces the myth that women just aren’t as active in music as performers, producers, or outside of pop idol status.
The thing is, that argument holds no water; the line between stadium-touring artists and festival headliners has always been blurry, and every big artist has played festivals recently. (See: Drake at Coachella.) As for women in music not being more active, here’s a brief rundown of women or groups with at least one woman who released music in 2014/2015 or are about to release new music, and could easily grace upcoming big festival lineups:
Mitski, Speedy Ortiz, Alvvays, Torres, Bully, Colleen Green, Eskimeaux, MADE IN HEIGHTS, Natalie Prass, Widowspeak, Wye Oak, LION BABE, Girlpool, Hiatus Kaiyote, Neneh Cherry, Lianne La Havas, Silversun Pickups, La Sera
*Though many of these acts appear in smaller festivals, the appeal of larger festivals lies mainly in their extraordinary size and coverage.
**This ignores bigger artists coming out with music, like Metric, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Kacey Musgraves.
Festival curators, you’re welcome. Now let’s see and listen to some more ladies on stage.