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Just 13% of UK festival headliners are female, according to new study

This comes despite festivals pledging to improve the gender imbalance on line-ups

  • Aneesa Ahmed | Image: Colin Lloyd
  • 25 May 2022
Just 13% of UK festival headliners are female, according to new study

Only 13% of UK festival headliners for this summer are female, a new study has found.

According to the BBC, only one in 10 headliners at the UK's main music festivals this summer will be women.

This revelation comes despite several events pledging five years ago to attain a "50/50" gender balance throughout line-ups by this year.

Read this next: Listen to a playlist of women and non-binary artists shaping the face of dance music in 2021

A YouGov survey was used by the BBC to compile a list of 50 of the UK's biggest and most favourable events.

Some of the festivals on this list included Glastonbury, Creamfields, Reading and Leeds, Latitude and Wireless.

Out of the 200 headliners across all festivals, it found that 26 (13%) were an all-female band or a solo artist; 149 (74.5%) were either an all-male band or a solo artist; 24 (12%) had a mixed line-up of male and female performers, and one (0.05%) artist identified as non-binary.

Read this next: Annie Mac criticises the gender imbalance of the Reading and Leeds line-up

Speaking to BBC Newsbeat, musician Maggie Rogers said: "What I come to music for - as a fan and artist - is community and to feel part of something, and I think community functions at its best when it feels inclusive.

"When that doesn't happen - when the line-ups reiterate imbalances that exist in gender and race and class - it's not surprising, but it's certainly not ideal."

This research shows little change since last year's research by The Guardian which found that out of 31 festivals, a majority were heavily weighted towards male performers.

Read this next: 10 things you can do to make dance music less sexist

Two programmes were started in 2017 with the goal of increasing the number of female and gender-identifying artists on stage. Following a previous BBC survey, Festival Republic's ReBalance and PRS' KeyChange showed that almost 80% of headliners were all men.

However, a recent study conducted by female:pressure has revealed that the number of women lining festival bills over the past ten years has risen by 18%.

Read the full BBC analysis here.

Read this next: 20 women who shaped the history of dance music

Aneesa Ahmed is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter

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