This Is Why You Won't See More Female Acts At Glastonbury This Year

Photo: Matt Stringer / Getty Images.
There are music festivals, and then there's Glastonbury. You might prefer a low-key city-based festival like London's Lovebox or Manchester's Parklife to the five days of mud and hedonism that Glastonbury brings, but there's no denying it's the most iconic UK music festival of all. For some people, it's a rite-of-passage; for others, it becomes an annual pilgrimage.
Because of its elevated status, Glastonbury's line-up and trio of headline acts (one for the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the festival) are always a major talking point. This year's event features a 42 percent female line-up, many of them absolute queens, but no female headliners.
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Then again, this shouldn't come as too much of a surprise: Glastonbury has booked just three female headline acts (Beyoncé, Adele and Florence and the Machine) in its last 10 years.
After the 2019 line-up was announced, Janet Jackson edited the official poster to move herself from fifth billing to the top spot – a true boss move.
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Speaking to Annie Mac at an AMP London panel event in London yesterday, Glastonbury's co-organiser Emily Eavis – who runs the festival with her father Michael Eavis, its founder – spoke candidly about the prevailing gender bias in the booking world.
"Some of them are just a bit old guard. It's a lot of old guys running things, the old bookers," she said in front of outlets including NME.
"They love a beer with the guys, the agents. They do golf days, they do football trips, and there's a whole brotherhood which is so tight. It's impenetrable. It feels like it. I'm like, 'Come on'."
Continuing, Eavis admitted that she's been labelled "a real hassle" because she consistently encourages the "old guard" to book more female acts.
"The thing about the men who book (our) stages, quite a lot of them are old men. They don't understand why I am pushing them the whole time," she said.
"When one of them presented a line-up this year, they were like, 'Right, I'm done, this is it.' And I was just like, 'I'm really sorry but you're just going to have to take some of those blokes off. Where are the women?"
Summing up the current situation frankly, Eavis added: "We are nowhere near where we need to be. We’re making slow progress, but there’s a long way to go.”
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