The inherent sexism of festival lineups

Spot the flaw:

Despite the fact that creative industries have taken a leap in the direction of gender equality, the same, sadly, can’t be said about festival lineups. Looking across the board, the acts are predominantly male, not a bad thing in itself, but the excuse that “there just aren’t enough female acts” seems to be wearing increasingly thin.

After a year where my album countdown was dominated by female artist and fem fronted groups, I ask myself why this success is not reflected in the lineups across the nation’s many festivals?

It might be a coincidence, yet, this issue is brought up year after year, and it does not seem to change.

A 2015 study done by The Guardian shows that, when analysing 12 UK festivals, 86% of advertised performers are men, and female artists and female fronted bands only made up about 5 – 7% in general. Three years down the line and not much seems to have changed. The music world seems to flourish with female acts, and yet, this is not reflected by festival bookings.

Of course, I have heard the argument that “female artists just don’t attract as many fans” or that “female bands aren’t as good”. Yet, those opinions just do not seem to match up to the current climate of the musical landscape.

In a year where there is not a single white man nominated for a Grammy for Best Album, maybe it is time to accept that the male dominance and subsequently sexist values of the music industry do not and should not hold up in this day and age.

Wireless festival is a sad example of how far we still have to go. It’s disappointing for the many talents that were overlooked in the sexism of the booking process, and more importantly, it reinforces a culture of toxic masculine environment that is not helping anyone.

Words by Aurora Henni Krogh

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Aurora Henni Krogh

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