By now, we’re all familiar with that thing people do when they erase all the male bands on a festival bill, thus highlighting how few female-identifying artists have been booked. In the case of pop-punk and alternative festival, Slam Dunk, it looks a little something like this.
Now, don’t get us wrong, we’re big fans of the May bank holiday festival and regular attendees, but there is simply no excuse to have a grand total of seven female-featuring acts on the bill. Even a half-arsed glance at a ‘Women In Rock’ playlist will tell you there’s an abundance of talent that could’ve evened out this gender imbalance. So, to prove this, we’ve compiled an extensive (but not exhaustive) list of artists that identify as female who would’ve fit the bill for the festival. Take a look below.
Needless to say, that list is nowhere near the total amount of guitar-wielding, female-featuring bands out there, which proves how shocking it is to have ended up with just seven on the bill. The finger isn’t just pointing at Slam Dunk though- this a problem appearing across the board of major festivals. Elsewhere in the rock world, Download festival is marginally better having totaled 12 female-identifying bands on their bill this year. In the hip-hop and pop spheres, the problem is notably worse, with Wireless having booked a meager three female artists.
A couple of weeks ago, 45 international music festivals announced that they’d signed up to a new programme that hopes to end this gender inequality in the festival landscape. The Keychange initiative, spearheaded by the PRS foundation, pledges to achieve a full 50/50 gender balance across their lineups by 2020. The full list can be found here, but some of the major festivals to sign up include The Great Escape (UK), MUTEK (Canada), Pop-Kultur (Germany), and Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Festival (France).
“We support diverse talent across every programme we run at PRS Foundation,” Vanessa Reed, CEO of PRS, says in a statement. “40% of our grantees in 2017 were from a BAME background and 53% featured female artists… The Keychange network of female artists and industry professionals and the festival partners’ idea of establishing a collective pledge will significantly accelerate change. I hope that this will be the start of a more balanced industry which will result in benefits for everyone.”