UK festivals: Just 13 per cent of headliners are female, report finds

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Only one in ten headliners at the UK’s top music festivals will be women this summer.

Out of 200 headline acts, a YouGov survey found 26 were female, one identified as non-binary, 24 had a mixed line-up of male and female performers, and the rest (149) were either an all-male band or a male solo artist.

This means just 13 per cent of UK headliners will be female musicians this summer, a BBC study has found.

This year’s Glastonbury headliners are Paul McCartney, Kendrick Lamar and Billie Eilish.

Reading and Leeds festival headliners include Arctic Monkeys, Rage Against The Machine, Dave, Bring Me The Horizon, Halsey and Megan Thee Stallion

Latitude festival headliners are all men: Lewis Capaldi, Foals and Snow Patrol.

George Ezra, Disclosure and Kings of Leon are headlining Boardmasters festival this year, which is another overwhelmingly male line-up.

Surprisingly, Wireless festival headliners are all female artists from the US: SZA, Cardi B and Nicki Minaj. This is an improvement on Wireless’s 2021 line-up which featured only four female artists, none of which were headliners.

Last year, singer Mahalia called out Wireless’s lineup for being a “penis fest” in a tweet.

Despite efforts made by 45 events pledging to achieve a 50/50 gender balance by 2022, festivals are still falling behind.

Five years ago, Festival Republic launched the ReBalance project to address the gender imbalance in the music industry.

Festival Republic managing director Melvin Benn said, when the Rebalance initiative was launched in 2017: “Something needs to be done about gender equality in the music industry. It’s a wider issue that involves us (the live industry) but the solution doesn’t rest only with us.

“I have decided to be proactive in changing and working towards this no longer being an issue in the future, and that’s what this project is about.”

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