New report states too few women headline festivals

Just 3.5 per cent of festival acts are all-female bands, compared to 43 per cent all-male bands

A new report has shone a light on the lack of women performing at six of this year’s biggest music festivals.

The only solo female headliner among six of the major festivals this summer was Lily Allen – who was a last-minute replacement at Latitude when Two Door Cinema Club cancelled with illness two days beforehand.

Elsewhere, Paramore – who play Reading and Leeds festivals later this month – fronted by Hayley Williams, are the only female-fronted band to top a bill. The only other band to feature any women among the headliners were Arcade Fire at Glastonbury, who include multi-instrumentalists Sarah Neufeld and Regine Chassagne.

The Daily Telegraph study of the bills at Bestival, Glastonbury, Isle Of Wight, Latitude, Reading And Leeds and V found that there are just 14 all-female bands among a total of 650 artists performing across the six festivals, a total of 3.5% – compared to 43% all-male bands. The bills feature 15.9% mixed-sex bands. Female solo artists comprise 15% of the bill, compared to 24% solo males.

Despite these figures, female solo musicians account for over half of 2014’s Richest Young Musicians list published by The Sunday Times. Adele – who refuses to play festivals – tops the list with an estimated wealth of £45 million.

Glastonbury’s Emily Eavis said: “Having women at the top of the bill is very important to us. We consciously try to keep the balance between men and women.” Latitude booker Natasha Haddad said: “In terms of bringing on credible new female artists, we’re very much on track with Lorde, Jessie Ware and Emeli Sandé.”

But Nik Colk of Factory Floor said sexism was rife in the music industry. She said: “When it comes to mindfully representing women with the right message, music is out of date in comparison to art and literature. The stigma of ‘sex sells’ stemming six decades back has done some lasting damage. It’s frustrating that, even though there are many women in music, very few get through to playing commercial festivals.”

See below for an exclusive interview with Haim discussing their appearance at Glastonbury in 2014.