Why Are Female Artists Missing From Irish Festivals?

Sans male acts, the line-ups for two of the country's biggest music festivals look shockingly empty. Tove Lo speaks exclusively to STELLAR about her views on gender inequality in Irish festivals.

Festival

Festival season is well and truly upon us and, as usual, Irish festivals have an incredible range of talented musicians lined up for us.

However, if you take a moment to observe the individual artists in each line-up you will notice something that may enrage your inner feminist: male dominated line-ups.

Here’s the full line-up for Longitude…

Longitude Festival 2015 full line up

Here’s how it looks when you take away all the male acts. Pretty empty, huh?

longitude line-up 2015

And it’s the same for Electric Picnic.

Electric Picnic

Electric Picnic 2015 lineup - women only

We took it upon ourselves to work out the male to female ratio for two of Ireland’s most popular festivals; Longitude and Electric picnic. Shockingly, only 19% of Longitude’s line-up is female, and although Electric Picnic’s line-up is 31% female, we still think it could be closer to 50:50.

Ireland isn’t the only country where this gender equality issue is prevalent in the music industry. The UK fares even worse in its male to female ratio. The Guardian examined 12 of the main UK festivals and found that 86% of the acts advertised were male. Er, what’s that all about?

The severe lack of female acts doesn’t mirror the amount of talented female artists in the music industry at the the moment. Well known artists like Rihanna, Taylor Swift and Beyonce are dominating the charts right now, and up and coming artists such as Wolf Alice, FKA Twigs and Tove Lo are making waves in the music biz, too.

At home, we’ve a wealth of music made by women to enjoy from bands like September Girls, Soak, Heathers, Loah, Wyvern Lingo, Bitch Falcon, Dott – and so many more (we’re taking a look at some in the August issue of the mag, out 15th July.)

There’s so much great music made by both men and women so why not show both?

STELLAR spoke exclusively to Tove Lo who’ll be playing on the Sunday of Longitude. “I’m very used to being the only girl which I don’t see as a good thing,” she told us. “Organisers are probably not looking outside of what they already know. I mean there are SO many female acts out there, and more coming, so I really don’t see why there aren’t more females in festival line-ups.

If you’re a festival organiser maybe you should take a look at your line-up and make sure there’s some kind of mixed division.

“I think if you’re a festival organiser maybe you should take a look at your line-up and make sure there’s some kind of mixed division. There’s so much great music made by both men and women so why not show both?”

We asked both Longitude and Electric picnic to comment on this. Longitude declined to comment and Electric Picnic responded saying, “it’s just about the entertainment.” Entertainment is obviously a huge factor in organising any festival but surely female musicians can provide the same amount of entertainment as men?

I’ve noticed myself lately that there is a severe lack of female singers on the Irish festival scene

Conor Mulhall, founder of Savee entertainment (who have represented Imelda May, Kodaline and many more) also shares our passion for gender-equal line-ups

“I’ve noticed myself lately that there is a severe lack of female singers on the Irish festival scene,” he told us. “We are always looking for new talent to represent or manage and have been on the look out for female talent for some time now but there appears to be a lack of it in Ireland lately for some reason. We need to do something about it!”

We hope in 2016 festival organisers take note and improve their male to female ratio, as Tove tells us the only way to we’re going to change this issue is by “people raising questions about it like this and publicising just how unequal festivals are.”

What you can do

So if you’re annoyed about this, and would like to see a change, here’s what we suggest: tweet/share this post on your social sites – and get the conversation started.

By Laura Somers

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