Why is there still a gender gap trouble at festivals?

Beyonce is headlining Coachella 2018 but why on earth is there still a gender gap issue at festivals?

It’s that time of year again where one group of people suffer from Fomo (fear of missing out) and the other set lap up the sun and live music at the annual festival Coachella. That’s right – unless you have been living under a rock, you’ll know the bonanza of choons, partying, Ferris wheels and waving palm trees is happening right now in Indio, California. Currently, we know the entire line-up for the first weekend, which kicked off yesterday with The Weeknd headlining, but Weekend Two remains shrouded in mystery.

Beyonce is finally headlining Coachella













But what we do know about this Saturday and Sunday’s performances is that Beyonce and Eminem will be taking the top bill. And although Queen Bey will be taking that stage tonight – and hopefully speculations that she will bring out either husband Jay-Z or Destiny’s Child as a surprise guest are true – this means nothing for gender equality in the music industry. Wherever you may be enjoying the star-studded event from, new research has uncovered that the festival has woefully under-represented women as headliners in past years.

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With the recent spotlight put on movements like #TimesUp and gender equality, a new study by Last.fm has revealed that there is a huge gender gap within the music sector. The study provided exclusively to Metro.co.uk compared male and female singers and their presence in festival lineups, major awards won and what genres we prefer to listen on our spare time – and it shed a light on a lot on the gender gap in music festivals. First of all, men seem to dominate major festival lineups as 88% percent of the headliners across UK and US festivals since 2012 were male with only 31% of major awards being won by women.

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Jay-Z performs as part of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival 2010.

Back in the UK, this year’s Wireless festival will see only five women hit the stage during the three-day event – and none are headlining. And although Beyonce is set to leade tonight’s line-up at Coachella, Reading and Leeds appear to pale behind as they have never had a woman solo artist as a headliner. However, Coachella shouldn’t get on their high horse too soon as 785 of their headliners have been men since the festival was founded in 1999, nearly 20 years ago.

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Beyonce is only the third female solo act to headline Coachella, after Lady Gaga who filled in for her when she pulled out due to her pregnancy last year and Bjork who headlined in 2002 and 2007. Other previous headliners include Jay-Z,  Radiohead, Calvin Harris, Kendrick Lamar,  Guns N Roses, Drake, AC/DC, OutKast, Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg and Kanye West – all men.

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Kendrick Lamar performs onstage with SZA during the 2018 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Field on April 13, 2018, in Indio, California.

Is this an acceptable statistic to be looking at in 2018 when women artists are increasingly dominating the charts and breaking sale records across all genres? Artists like Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Adele, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Lorde, Pink could easily make the cut for headlining options for major festivals like Reading and Coachella. It’s time to make a change.

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