Emily Eavis Speaks Out On Gender Imbalance In Festival Bookings

Written by Rhiannon Knowles

Emily Eavis, co-organiser of Glastonbury Festival, has addressed the lack of female musicians on this year’s festival line-ups.

In a recent interview with BBC Newsbeat, Eavis acknowledges the gender “imbalance”, yet insists that Glastonbury stage bookers are “making progress” in booking female artists for the festival.

This statement follows Florence + The Machine’s stepping-in as headliner in 2015, after Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl broke his leg, and a show-stopping performance by Adele, who became the 8th ever act featuring a female to headline Glastonbury in 2016.

This year’s line-up, however, currently lacks a female headline act, with the likes of Katy Perry, Lorde, Solange, Laura Marling, Emeli Sandé, Kate Tempest, Tove Lo and Annie Mac lower down in the list. Leeds and Reading Festivals also have no female main stage headliners booked for 2017.

“For some stage bookers it’s harder because it’s not a conscious thing,” notes Eavis. “If the stage happens to be all male, you could just say that’s the way it turned out.”

This is not the first time Eavis, who proudly attended the London Women’s March in January, has been vocal about this issue. In conversation with i-D (Vice Magazine) in 2016, Eavis stressed the importance of festivals giving younger acts, female and male, the chance to play on small stages and eventually get to a level high enough to headline, at which “there aren’t as many female acts”.

It’s not as balanced and equal as it should be,” she stated, after referring to her view of a gender imbalance in the music/festival industry also. “I think we can always go further and should be supporting women more.

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