Festival lineups aren’t always gender-balanced, as male artists usually dominate all the headlining spots. From now on, however, The 1975 frontman has promised to only play festivals that are entirely inclusive.
UK’s Reading and Leeds festival revealed lineups this week, which will be headlined by Rage Against The Machine, Stormzy, and Liam Gallagher. The fests only feature 20 female artists, which has sparked a conversation among social media. Why aren’t any females at the forefront in 2020? Reading and Leeds aren’t alone, either. Boston Calling and Coachella will also be fronted by men.
Laura Snapes, the deputy music editor of The Guardian, called on male artists to add inclusion riders to their festival contracts, causing Healy to jump on the opportunity.
“Take this as me signing a contract – I have agreed to some festivals already that may not adhere to this and I would never let fans down who already have tickets,” Healy said on Twitter, responding to Snapes. “But from now I will and believe this is how male artists can be true allies.”
Additionally, he noted that while he would still need to work out the specifics in a contract, now is the time to speak up, writing that “people need to act and not chat.”
While there is definitely work to be done, some music enthusiasts are trying to push the boundaries and make a difference in the industry. In 2018, 45 music festivals and conferences across the globe signed the PRS Foundation’s Keychange initiative, which pledges a 50/50 balance across all festival lineups by 2022. Spain’s Primavera festival achieved this, with a 50/50 lineup last year, while rising pop star Lizzo broke records, becoming the first female headliner in Bonnaroo’s history for the 2020 edition of the fest.