With the Reading and Leeds lineup rapidly growing it’s difficult not to notice the rather disheartening lack of female musicians on the bill: 9 female musicians so far appear on the bill of over 100 acts, some of which are members of male dominated bands. What’s also apparent is the attitude towards this. Whilst this isn’t a new issue, girls are finally starting to voice their concern. Good, right? Well, yes, until they’re greeted by boys telling them that “female musicians are shit” and are even wondering “why [we] care”.
So, as a teenage girl, should I care about the under-representation of female musicians? Yes, I should, and I will. In fact, whatever age, gender, nationality you are, you should too.
“But the bookers are just booking the bands who will bring an audience. They shouldn’t have to worry about equality and representation. If the female bands were good, they’d be on the lineup”.
Let’s have a look at some of this year’s other lineups:
Isle of Wight: Fleetwood Mac, First Aid Kit, Imelda May, Jessie Ware, Jess Glynne, Suzanne Vega, Foxes, Chicks on Speeds, La Femme, Sharon Corr to name a few… And that’s still pretty high up the bill.
Field Day: DJ Barely Legal, FKA Twigs, Future Brown, Jagaara, Nina Kraviz, Rae Morris, Shura, Shanti Celeste, Sophie, Tei Shi, Tune-Yards, Patti Smith, Ex Hex, Jane Weaver, My Brightest Diamond, Savages.
That’s not to mention the likes of Paloma Faith, Kate Tempest, St Vincent… I could go on.
Whilst some of the other festivals still leave a lot to be desired in terms of representation, it’s pretty clear to see that the world isn’t exactly lacking in female musicians – it’s just seemingly disinterested in them. These female musicians aren’t some sort of myth; they’re real and they’re bloody talented.
Yes, they maybe slightly rarer than your average male musician, but is that not a problem in itself? The stigma and fuss around being a female musician is enough to put anyone off. We can tell girls to be strong and independent, and to follow their dreams – but is it enough?
The simple answer is no, and we can’t tell them this if at the same time they’re being told that they shouldn’t care, and being presented with lineups like Reading and Leeds. There’s no denying there’s still room for improvement, so go start that Riot Grrrl band, buy yourself some decks and become the next best DJ, put on a female-only festival, for God’s sake; but don’t, by any means, think this is an issue that should be overlooked. We can only hope the festivals are saving the women for later announcements…