Lest we forget – Quietly, with much effort, women have been a changing face to music festival phenomena as we know it. Despite mainstream media bothering to award them little credit for their contribution. In fact, even musical history has been unkind in their reference to some of the most revolutionising faces of rock music such as Mitchell, Janis Joplin, Siouxsie Sioux and Patti Smith, even as present singers such as Britney Spears and Madonna are celebrated for their sugary pop category. When 2015′ major festival released their lineups, music blog Crack in the Road noticed a very disturbing trend. That, in fact, the performers in all the lineups were predominantly male.
Last year’s Coachella lineup for instance, which featured acts such as Drake, Jack White and AC/DC, had no female headliners. And only four sub-headliners of the festival were female-fronted bands such as Alabama Shakes, Nero, St. Vincent and Florence + The Machine. The statistic shows that not women musicians did not make it to even one-fourth of the festival’s lineup.
So, this International Women’s Day, The Sherp pays tribute to some of the female artists who are leading the change in the current music festival scene.
1. Beyonce being the Queen that she is.
Queen Bey has managed to have one hell of a year in 2015 and we are not even surprised. But one of the highlights would have to be her jaw-dropping performance at Made In America, which also happens to be organised by husband Jay-Z. Beyonce belted out some of her most famous tracks and treated the crowd to some of her signature mind-boggling performances, complete with lights and backup dancers. Yaaaas Queen!
2. Bjork handling a break up like a pro at Manchester International Festival, UK.
Bjork debuted her insanely emotional album Vulnicura at the Manchester International Festival and it was one of the most emotional performances by her. The artist, known for her elaborate and iconic attire on (and off stage), kept her face covered with a moth mask, letting the focus fall only on her voice. This was enough effect as the singer’s voice was infused with ample pain and emotion (the album is said to be the result of her break up with Matthew Barney) as she reminded the audience why she is so amazing. The production value of the performance was particularly stupendous as it did justice to the enormity of her voice.
3. Florence Welch stepping up like a badass.
When Dave Grohl very unceremoniously broke his leg while performing in Sweden, the Foo Fighters were unable to perform their headlining slot at Glastonbury. Thus, the organizers asked Florence and the Machine to step up and headline the event instead. Though the Fighters were missed, people were overjoyed to see the indie band fill in their shoes. But this also brought some very ugly statistics to light. For example, the last time a female fronted band headlined Glastonbury was in, yes we mean it, 1999. The number of female headline acts are so sparse you cant help but focus on the chasm between the genders. Still, Florence with her trusty Machine gave one of their best performances ever and we hope to God that we see them in an even bigger avatar next year (looking at you here, Glastonbury).
4. FKA Twigs being a total path blazer.
The past year has been a very important year for FKA Twigs, born as Tahliah Debrett Barnet, an English hip hop artist who has quickly climbed up the music scene to be part of some of the most prestigious festivals and events. Last year, she performed at Coachella, Sonar, Glastonbury and many more, joining the exclusive group of people who frequently headline and perform at some of the biggest events in the world! Mainly being a one-girl act, this Britisher has come a long way from her days in the dingy pubs of London to the forefront of the international music scene!
5. Hayley Williams joins Chvrches for the performance of our dreams.
In what can only be called our fantasy come true, the mighty Hayley Williams, lead singer of Paramore, joined forces with Lauren Mayberry and the rest of the Chvrches to deliver a smashing performance of ‘Bury it’. The surprise performance took the audience aback and reeling for more as the two women merrily took over the stage. The zany energy shared by the two only electrified the crowd more, and we cant wait to see if they have any more in store for us!
6. Mary J Blige setting the stage on fire at Glastonbury.
One of the surprising names at Glastonbury last year was Mary J Blige, who’s power house performances are almost as famous as her music. Even though the star has been in the industry for about 23 years, this was the first time she performed at Glastonbury and boy, did she make up for it. Setting the pyramid stage ablaze as she perfectly executed her brilliant set, the crowd was almost begging for more of her slick style. Dressed in black head to toe, Blige has given the festival the treatment it deserved and we hope to see much more of her.
7. Rihanna giving us stage goals
Rihanna is a goddess, on-stage or off. There is nothing we don’t worship about her, whether it be her hard hitting lyrics or her insanely beautiful stage costumes. And she reminded all of us why exactly she is everyone’s goals when she headlined the Rock In Rio festival that happens in Brazil ever year. Once having headlined there before in 2011, she had the crowd praying at her feet while she performed favourites such ‘Bitch Better Have My Money’ and ‘American Oxygen’.
8. Daughter being the coolest ever at 6 Music Festival
In February this year, Daughter played a sick gig at the 6 Music Festival and we loved everything about it. They were one of the most awaited acts there, and they sure did not disappoint. The band has grown and evolved a lot over the years, but the best part is that the heart in their music has not changed. Here’s hoping we get to see more of this amazing indie folk band this year!
9. Dolly Parton showing them young ‘uns how its done.
Dolly Parton made her Glastonbury debut last year and we cant think of many other performances that can live up to the sheer magnanimity of that. Pulling in a crowd much larger than Arcade Fire and Metallica, who headliners for the previous days, Parton dazzled the crowd with her rhinestone studded ensemble and her vocals. Belting out classics such as ‘Jolene’, ‘9 to 5’ and ‘Coat of Many Colours’, she thoroughly entertained everyone even offering to adopt a dog who had been abandoned at the festival (aww!). Though she was not the headlining act of the day, Dolly Parton was the act everyone left raving about. We would say that’s one hell of a debut!
10. St.Vincent headlining XPoNential Fest
Anne Erin “Annie” Clark, or better known as her stage name St. Vincent, has steadily been making it big. Her music is absolutely enthralling and we cant seem to get enough of her weirdly amazing onstage persona. She seems like the best friend all of us are secretly wishing for. So when we heard that she was headlining the XPoNential Fest along with other bigwigs such as My Morning Jacket, we couldn’t wait to see how she would surprise us. And surprise us she did. Heavily influenced by Bowie, Prince and other such gods, her performance was something that was worth the wait. Wat to go, girl!
Have we missed out any? Let The Sherp know in the comments!