Sunday, 13 March 2011

Female Music at Festivals

Sometimes I mention bands or singers that have been added to festival line ups on my show and usually I also mention if any other all female/female fronted bands/singers are also playing and I felt quite disheartened this week when doing my prep to see that the two festivals I mentioned had very few female fronted/female bands in their line up. So I thought I would explore this further, let's start with the big ones.

Line up not offically confirmed yet but according to efestivals
Crystal Castles are a rumour
Noisettes are a rumour
There are no female fronted bands listed as a strong rumour.

Skunk Anansie
Straight Line Stitch
The Pretty Reckless

Anna Calvi
Annie Mac (to be confirmed)
Bex Marshall (to be confirmed)
Caitlin Rose (to be confirmed)
Claire Nicolson (to be confirmed)
Clara Sanabras (tbc)
Clare Maguire (strong rumour)
Connie Lush (tbc)
Crystal Castles
Ellen and the Escapades (strong rumour)
Janelle Monae
Jessie J (tbc)
katy B (tbc)
Kylie (rumour)
Laura Marling
MIA (tbc)
Noisettes (rumour)
Sandi Thom (tbc)
The Joy Formidable (strong rumour)

V Festival
Ellie Goulding
Jessie J
Katy B
KT Tunstall
The Saturdays
Eliza Dolittle
Imelda May
Clare Maguire

T in the Park
Jessie J
KT Tunstall
Crystal Castles
The Saturdays
Imelda May
Eliza Dolittle

isle of wight
Alexandra Burke
Diana Vickers
Eliza Dolittle
Imelda May
Joan Jett
Pixie Lott
The Like

That's the main festivals, with the exception of Glastonbury (which is huge) there are very few acts out of the line ups that are female fronted/all female. What else did I notice? The majority (certainly not all) of the female acts in the line ups are pop acts.With the exception of a few acts, there are not many that break the traditional female singer mould. They are singers and bands that don't necessarily play instruments and their look is a large part of their appeal rather than their talent. Is this really the true face of female music today?

A lot of the smaller festivals have more female fronted acts, from past experience I know Offset festival seems to have an abundance of them.But the problem is as nice as that is, we need more female acts at the big festivals, and not just on the upcoming band stages, or as the pop acts that are pretty to look at. WE NEED HEADLINE ACTS! Very few of the bands I've mentioned are headlining with the exception of Beyonce, a pop star which just reiterates my point.

Even looking at festivals abroad, there are few female acts. Even ROCK IN RIO has Katy Perry and Rihanna as their female acts!

This is why we have Ladyfests. The mainstream is so far behind with the times it's unbelievable. There are so many talented females out there making music. Girls, let's make a noise! Play your music and play it loud, if you can't play, organise gigs in your area with local female talent even if it's only a small event rather than a ladyfest, every bit counts! We need to get this riot started!


  1. Great article raising an incredibly important issue: Why aren't there more bands with female musicians (as well as female singers)playing the major festivals? In my recent experience of trying to put a band together made up of all female musicians I have come to the conclusion that there simply not enough female musicians around compared to male musicians. And those that are around seem to have other non-music related commitments which prevent them from getting too involved. This is a topic that needs further coverage. Well done DJ Moonlight for highlighting this issue :-)

  2. that isn't quite what I was getting at but an interesting point as well.

    I meant that even female fronted bands (where usually the lead singer does play an instrument too) a very few when it comes to festival line ups and it's not like there's a lack of them!

    It was more that the females that do play at festivals are commercial pop acts rather than rock/indie/alternative/ just reinforcing the stereotype of females in music being more about their looks than their actual music.