- 06 Mar 23
"I can shout as loud as I like but we need to get everyone on board,” said Emily Eavis.
This year's Glastonbury Festival will see a heavily male dominated headlining lineup, featuring the Arctic Monkey, Guns N' Roses and Elton John. This comes as a change from the 2022 festival's leading trio which included Grammy winner Billie Eilish.
Festivals are struggling with a scarcity of viable female options, argued Glastonbury organiser Emily Eavis when the predominantly male list was announced. She attributes this to an industry that doesn't invest enough in female artists.
"This starts way back with the record companies," she explained, adding– "the pipeline needs to be developed."
Eavis told The Guardian that Glastonbury is "entirely focused on balancing [the] bill." To her, advancing diversity is a personal issue, harkening back on a time when there was only a single woman working as a live booking agent.
"We’re probably one of the only big shows that’s really focused on this,” she said. As of this weeks partial lineup announcement, 52% of the festival's 54 acts are male.
Guns N' Roses were added to the headlining list after a previously booked female artist pulled out, accounted Eavis, who declined to give the performer's name. Fans speculate it was Taylor Swift, who was due to headline in 2020 before the festival's cancellation. Other rumours whirl around Rihanna's booking, prior to the announcement of her second pregnancy at the Super Bowl Half Time show.
Eavis explained that Guns N' Roses– who added female keyboard player, Melissa Reese, in 2016 –had been in discussion to headline since before the pandemic. “They’ll be brilliant and provide something totally different to the rest of the headliners,” she said.
Lizzo will open for the group, being the only non-official headliner to be listed atop the festival's bill. “She could totally headline,” said Eavis, "but the headline slot had already been promised to someone else.”
Next year's festival hopes to see two women headline, accounted Eavis– one confirmed, and one close.
Situations like this year's Glastonbury lineup are a direct symptom of industry failures to support female artists from the ground up. Getting them on the smaller stages, on radio, at live venues.
— Roisin O'Connor (@Roisin_OConnor) March 3, 2023