Rabbits Eat Lettuce festival responds after artist pulls out over lack of gender diversity

"This is just a fact of the market."

Rabbits Eat Lettuce festival recently announced – somewhat ambitiously – their 2020 lineup, featuring the likes of Hermitude, Shockone, Opiuo, Late Nite Tuff Guy and more.

However, the festival has since come under criticism for the lack of gender diversity present on the bill. Edward MacDonald – an artist professionally known as Human Movement – was originally booked to play the event. He’s since withdrawn, condemning the lineup’s lack of non-male artists.

“Sorry to those who already bought tickets to come and dance with me,” he wrote on social media earlier this week. “However it is apparent the gender balance of artists on the lineup is way out of whack and to not use my platform to say something is tolerating that exact issue.”

Advertisement

“We can do better as an industry and community.”

For reference, men comprise over 90% of the acts featured on the festival’s 2020 lineup.

The Rabbits Eat Lettuce account has responded by commenting on MacDonald’s post on both Instagram and Facebook, saying that it’s “a shame” he doesn’t “feel this is a time to come together to support the music & arts industry that is currently in tatters.”

“When your ‘male’ booking agent offered you to our festival with a bunch of other ‘male’ artists, gender didn’t really cross our minds,” the comment reads.

“We accepted his proposal to book you for the festival on the basis of your music and that alone. We think booking an artist based on gender actually contradicts the message you are trying to put out.”

Advertisement

The festival’s account also said that the two biggest offers they had for the event were female (Peggy Gou and Maya Jane Coles), but both declined to play.

“The reality is that most of the agencies that sell artists to us come to us with male artists (such as yours), in addition, when we open the festival’s music applications we only receive about 5% female artists applying,” the comment continues.

“This is just a fact of the market. There are many more aspiring male artists than females pursuing careers in the field at this time.

“All we can do as event promoters is book artists from the available pool of talent and encourage more females to enter the industry by booking quality female artists when the music alines [sic] with our vibe.”

The festival’s account then suggested MacDonald – who has been performing under the Human Movement moniker for several years – doesn’t “quite have a thorough understanding of the industry and the market.”

“It’s great you want to push things towards a more balanced state but this might not be the best way to go about it. Maybe start by encouraging and nurturing females that want to get into music.”

The festival, as it stands, is set to go ahead at Landcruiser Mountain Park in Queensland’s Sunshine Coast Hinterland, from Thursday November 26 – Sunday November 29.

Advertisement
Advertisement