This year, we will be running several campaigns featuring pertinent issues within the music industry that we want to address. These will feature guest blogs, videos, interviews and much more, all aiming to subvert norms and bring attention to some of the systemic problems in music right now. The first of our special features is entitled “Enough is Enough” and focuses on the festival market, in particular the lack of recognition for female artists at both grassroots and mainstream festivals nationwide.
The below photo shopped image was taken in 2015 and showed the shocking amount of female artists on the Reading and Leeds festival lineup that year. With over 100 acts playing at the festival year on year, in 2015, their lineup poster showed that only nine of those had a female band member. 9!?
Picture: Josh Dalton/ Crack In The Road
Now, you’d think that over the years, Reading and Leeds, a festival backed by the BBC, NME and many more respected players within the industry, would change it’s stance and book more female acts…well they kind of have. There are a lot more artists on the line-up that are female, but you have to delve deep into the dance stages to find them. On the main stage there are currently three artists with a female member in, one of which is the hugely popular Dua Lipa. The most noticeable thing is that although there are more females, there is still a problem when it comes to females in bands.
A North-East bar recently banned female rock bands from playing their venue, with their owner suggesting women “can’t sing rock”. They might have a point, I mean, I’m struggling to think of any…oh wait, Blondie, Evanescence, Marmozets, Fleetwood Mac, Gwen Stefani, Pvris the list goes on. WOMEN CAN’T SING ROCK???? Some of the greatest songs of all time come from female rock vocalists! Yet still we have a problem getting these incredible musicians on our festival stages.
Wolf Alice, Marmozets, The Pretty Reckless; three hugely talented bands from three different genres have all played major UK festivals in recent times, but you’ll struggle to find one where there are grassroots female artists across the board. Bang Bang Romeo for example are a hugely talented new band coming through This Feeling and BBC Introducing and are set for the big stages, but more often than not, they are playing alongside male bands on their festival stages and gig stages. It seems like it’s harder and harder for female artists to get a good gig with other female artists and as such seem like an “add on” at many shows.
We will be running several features over the course of the next few months, as we attend festivals, speak with artists like Bang Bang Romeo and try and unpick, why is this the case. If you would like to guest write, have strong views you’d like to share with me or would be happy as a band to do a Q&A, please do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.