Male Artists Dominate Music Festivals, Duh

Illustration for article titled Male Artists Dominate Music Festivals, Duh

It’s obvious just by looking at the lineups for any given music festival lately that dudes make up the majority of performances.


But Fusion crunched the numbers and found that out of 678 music acts in nine of this year’s biggest festivals—Coachella, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Governor’s Ball, etc.—roughly 75% of the performers are male. This is sadly not a surprise. In 2013, according to Salon estimates, the number was around 71 percent.

Coachella had 84% male representation this year, per Fusion’s stats, and Bonnaroo is also dick heavy:

...168 bands — not including children’s music or comedians — will play at Bonnaroo this year, a reflection of just how massively the summer music festival economy in America has ballooned. Of those, 18 are all-female bands, and 15 have a woman in the band at all. But Bonnarooo is not alone. Almost every major music festival in the United States has the exact same problem: The lineup is full of boy-bands.

It’s even more frustrating when you know (because you have eyes) that women comprise a significant portion of festival attendees—over 50%, according to EventBrite.

Have festival organizers done anything to remedy this? Only a little bit. Fusion’s Kelsey McKinney writes:

The end goal here isn’t to create a mythical 50-50 ratio in music festival lineups, although that would be nice. But when the gender disparity is so great — when there are 504 all male bands to 72 all female bands — it’s difficult to believe that this is an isolated occurrence, or that not enough women are on tour, or any other excuse.


Regarding the excuse that male acts bring in more sales, she adds:

...Just as there’s no data-based reason to believe that teenage boys are more willing to pay for movies than women, there’s also no data-based research to support the idea that male bands will bring in more money than female bands. It’s the classic nostalgia-inducing men’s bands like Paul McCartney and Billy Joel, though, that get the attention of concert promoters and the spot as a headliner at these massive, highly profitable events. But who’s to say women wouldn’t turn out in droves to see, say, Alanis Morissette, the Dixie Chicks, or Madonna? (She made headlines at Coachella without even being on the ticket.)


The stats confirm most of these lineups need a touch of creativity and lots more women and diverse acts while we’re at it. Here’s a nifty Fusion infographic if you like sexy charts:

Illustration for article titled Male Artists Dominate Music Festivals, Duh

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Images via Ellie Shechet and Julianne Escobedo Shepherd


Kelsey McKinney

Bring Back Lillith Fair, 2016