Britain’s music festival line-ups feature 86% male performers. Dive into this recent survey that reveals an alarming lack of female acts at music festivals.
Florence + The Machine at Glastonbury, 2010
Putting together a music festival is no walk in the park. From acquiring adequate licenses and sponsors to signing artists that indirectly reflects on ticket pricing – it’s quite a goliath task. As much as music festivals focus towards providing an overall experience for attendees, the line-up is, and always has been, the first eye catching feature. As far as the industry is concerned, it wouldn’t be untrue if we said that most festival line-ups are dominated by male acts, and a recent study by the Guardian of some of the UK’s festival line-ups reveals how overwhelming this figure is.
Glastonbury sans male performers
An analysis of 12 of Britain’s top music festivals revealed that 86% of the acts signed for festivals are male. A startling figure one must say, especially considering that names like Taylor Swift, Rihanna and Katy Perry have been among the top 10 biggest-selling acts across the world in the last five years. An interview with the organizers of these top music festivals also revealed how the shot-callers are compelled to sign artists who will eventually guarantee ticket sale conversions, because organizing a festival requires a truckload of cashflow. Unfortunately, these headline acts happen to be male, and there’s nothing a festival organizer can do about that. Here’s what Reading & Leeds festival curator Melvin Benn had to say:
“We’re not tastemakers, Putting a festival on is a monstrous financial risk. The only way I balance the books is selling tickets. Why do you think we book the same male acts again and again? Because they sell tickets.“
The trend does not restrict itself to Britain’s market. Top music festivals in the USA like Coachella, Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo feature male dominated rosters. A study by Buzzfeed revealed that since Coachella’s inception in 1999, only two female acts have been given headline status – Björk in 2002 and 2007, and Portishead in 2008 — and the event has never had more than a 25% female lineup.
What’s your opinion about this particular trend? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.