For those wondering just how bad the gender imbalance on the Reading & Leeds lineup is, Crack In The Road have cleverly edited the lineup poster to remove all the male acts, leaving us with a rather bare looking roster.
As readers will see below, Slate have done the same for Coachella and Noisey have remixed a few of the UK’s most prominent events, highlighting the fact that the lineup gender imbalance is not contained to Reading & Leeds, but is a problem that can be seen in the lineups of numerous festivals around the world.
Crack In The Road‘s image comes as Readings & Leeds founder Melvin Benn has once again come out in defence of his two flagship festivals after receiving criticism over the lack of female acts on the lineup. As Tone Deaf reported last month, the nearly 100-strong Reading & Leeds 2015 lineup features just nine female acts.
“The facts speak for themselves in terms of female acts that were available at that time and that fit the Reading and Leeds bill. There’s nobody more committed to gender equality than I am, but I can’t make an act that isn’t there,” Benn told NME during a recent interview.
This year’s Reading & Leeds bill is topped by recently rejuvenated folksters Mumford & Sons, metal giants Metallica, and UK indie rock vanguards The Libertines. Lower down the bill, the female acts include Wolf Alice, Azealia Banks, Marmozets, Alvvays, Hannah Wants, Kardiknox, Little May, Sam Fermin, and Walking On Cars.
“I can’t pretend we’re not conscious of it,” said the promoter of the lack of women on the Reading bill. “But we can’t put a bill together based on gender, we can only put a bill together based on availability and appropriateness.”
However, Benn contended that the bill for his Latitude event differed significantly, mostly due to the genre that the festival primarily books, which featured more of a folk and indie slant. “If you look at the Latitude bill, a very substantial amount of the acts are women or have female members,” he said.
It’s not the first time Benn has received such criticism. Speaking to Gigwise back in January, he said, “The idea that female bands are sidelined as a suggestion is just not there. The truth is that there has been an historic lack of opportunity for young women to get into bands and to be in bands, and I think that has disappeared now.”
“For me it’s never been about the gender of the band, it’s been about the quality of the band, and I think increasingly female bands, female-fronted bands, entirely female bands, mixed bands… they’re just forever on the increase now, and gone are the days where a band was four guys. That’s gone now. It’s genuinely gone.”
Last year marked the first time that a female-fronted act had headlined Reading or Leeds when the Hayley Williams-fronted outfit Paramore co-headlined a day of the popular UK event with Queens of the Stone Age.
Image via Noisey