Singer Ellie Goulding is a powerhouse, both on stage and off. She's been in the music business a long time and has succeeded in an industry which can be downright hostile for women artists. A veteran of the festival circuit, Goulding recently took to Twitter to comment on the lack of representation for women at large music festivals.
"Still so proud as a female artist to be headlining [sic] and playing festivals around the world every single year," she tweeted. "Need to give myself credit sometimes as I've been doing this nonstop for over seven years. I don't see many females at these festivals."
The tweets come on the heels of Goulding's participation at this year's Glastonbury Festival, which she called out in a 2015 Cosmopolitan story, saying, "I got annoyed when Glastonbury had so many men on the line-up. The festival committed to doing better in the future, and in 2015, Florence + The Machine headlined. Katy Perry made her Glastonbury debut this year.
Goulding's tweets speak to the larger problem in festival culture. While over half of festival attendees are women, an analysis on music festival data by The Huffington Post found that women artists made up only 12 percent of acts in 2016 — compared to 78 percent male performers. In 2016, Coachella had no female headliners for the ninth year in a row and their lineup included 168 male artists and just 60 female artists (a figure which included mixed-gender groups). They broke their record with the 2017 booking of Beyoncé, who was replaced by Lady Gaga when she had to cancel on her doctor's orders (she'll be back in 2018).The data also showed that Ultra’s 2016 lineup featured 198 exclusively-male acts, and only featured 20 female artists, while Lollapalooza had 124 male acts and 47 female acts.
"We're very aware of the gender imbalance," Executive Vice President of Programming for Superfly (the production company behind Bonnaroo) Chris Sampson told HuffPost. "We try to book the best festival that we can every year. We want the best artists out there, at every level, male or female."
Talking about the issue is a good start, but it's going to take a firm commitment from the festivals itself if anything is going to change. Props to Goulding for speaking up and calling out the issue.
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