The first Glastonbury Festival 2019 lineup poster has been released and, oh my goodness. Why so much excitement, you ask? Because not only does it mark the official countdown to the return of the UK's biggest and most loved festival, but it also proves that – contrary to the shortfalls of other festival lineups – a slamming gender-balanced lineup is totally possible. Just look at the calibre of women on the bill.
Glastonbury shared its first poster on Twitter on Friday morning, and announced this year's final two Pyramid Stage headliners. Joining Stormzy are The Killers and The Cure. But if you allow your eyes to float down the rest of the list, you'll find an impressive selection of the hottest women in music right now.
With each woman's name may I invite you to release an impassioned "yasss!" or "woo!" into the world. A standing ovation for the following, please. Miley Cyrus, whose catalogue of music stretches over a decade now. Ms Lauryn Hill, who's been touring for the 20th anniversary of her Miseducation album this year. Janelle Monáe, an artist whose last album was received with resounding acclaim and mutual consensus across the biz as one of the best of 2018. Pray she brings the vagina trousers. Christine and the Queens needs no introduction after the success of Chris and can we take a moment to celebrate the legend that is Sheryl Crow? Clap harder, kids.
Team UK is smashing it right now too, of course. The proof is once again in the lineup. Please see: Jorja Smith, Anne-Marie, Stefflon Don, Little Simz, Pale Waves, This Is The Kit and Shura. Worthy Farm will also be graced with appearances from (deep breath) Sigrid, King Princess, Lizzo, Neneh Cherry, Rosalia, Santigold, Mavis Staples, Kate Tempest, Sharon Van Etten, Aurora, Fatoumata and Billie Eilish.
We're already concerned about set clashes. And though the lineup wildly exceeds the likes of Wireless, whose brazen lack of women shocked everyone last year, and Reading and Leeds Festival, who have hosted only one female-fronted headliner in 20 years, the team at Glastonbury know there's still more to do.
The BBC reports that 42% of the current lineup (which is due to be expanded over the coming months) is female. Speaking in an interview last month, festival organiser Emily Eavis explained that "gender balance is something I consider at every stage of the booking process." She added: "We're a little way off being 50/50 across the whole festival, but in 2017 the Park Stage was 50/50 and that will be the case on other stages this year. We're definitely moving in the right direction."
Though the majority would recognise the breadth of female talent as a great thing, some Twitter users seem unenthused at the prospect of progress in the name of good music.
Underwhelmed. Gone completely overboard getting female vocalists just to be seen to be inclusive. Mikel Cyrus, Janet Jackson, Lauryn Hill, Anne Marie, Sheryl Crow etc on top of Kylie, Janelle.— Neil (@npmpix) March 15, 2019
Hope Catfish, Bloc Party, Foals, Royal Blood still to follow...jeez. #glastonbury2019
"Gone completely overboard getting female vocalists just to be seen to be inclusive," one unhappy and "underwhelmed" Twitter user replied to the announcement.
Though gender parity remains depressingly unfamiliar territory in the music industry and beyond, the excitement over this year's lineup is twofold. The 42% of women on that list proves that there is commitment among the movers and shakers of the festival world to levelling a playing field that for so long has been dominated by male musicians. On top of that, though, is that Glastonbury has managed to gather some of the coolest and most relevant women in the game right now, and popped them alongside legends of years gone by. Lizzo meets Lauryn Hill. Jorja Smith meets Neneh Cherry. King Princess meets Sheryl fucking Crow! How often does that happen on such a scale? This is a good year. It goes without saying that we'd love to see a lineup that boasted all-female headliners. But every time a festival produces a bill like this one, we're one step closer to seeing it happen.