Don’t Hate, Appreciate: Females at Festivals

You know what completely wound me up the other week? That edited line up poster from Leeds/Reading Festival where someone had pretty much pre-empted they were going to target the event for some kind of feminist rant. Whilst I’m a big believer in feminism and that women in the music industry need to be supported (emphasise on SUPPORTED there), I found it completely… well, sad and infuriating that someone had decided before the line up was even announced  to edit the image, taking out all the bands with male artists in and leaving only a small number of bands with females in. 
How do I know they’d decided to do this before the line up was released? Well, I guessed. Because that image was up being circulated on Twitter within 10 minutes of it being released. Either they had Bernard’s Watch, or the whole thing was planned. Maybe it was a competitor festival, maybe it was just someone with too much time on their hands who needed an internet drama for the day – who really knows?
It annoys me because there’s no need to target the specific festival for this kind of online ‘campaign’ – look at any festival line up. You’ll see the same pattern, that female bands are not in the majority on the bill. I’m not going to go in to the whole debate about feminism/bands/line ups/the industry; but what I will say is that I’m female… I’ve had my fair chance to be in a band… I even had a guitar, which I could barely play. Could I have been in a band? Yes. Did I decided not to because I found it boring as hell? YES. I don’t blame anyone else for me not being in a band. I don’t blame anyone else that there aren’t more females in bands. But you don’t listen to music because of who’s playing it. You listen to it because of what they are playing. Well, most people I know do anyway.

But let’s get back to the purpose of this blog post.

Female Acts at Leeds Fest

I’m not saying females shouldn’t be in bands. I’m not saying there shouldn’t be more bands on the line up. I’m saying LET’S CELEBRATE THE WOMEN WHO HAVE ROCKED THE FESTIVAL and those who will continue to rock the industry from within. It’s not just about women who play on the stage at festivals – what about all the women behind the scenes? Booking bands, doing PR, setting up the camp sites, arranging the riders…. I could go on. Festivals are so much bigger than who is on the stage. But why are people so focussed on looking on the negative side of the lack of females in the line up? Why not celebrate the fact that there are some strong, sassy ladies in there in the first place, and why not look at line ups gone by and share a little love for the girls who did it better than a guy ever could?

We won’t talk about that time L7 threw a used tampon in the crowd though… Not in this blog post anyway.

Haim at Leeds Fest

I was so lucky to see Haim at Leeds Fest in 2013.  Admittedly, before I saw them I was a bit ‘uhhh, what’s the fuss all about?’ but I have honestly, never seen a trip of girls who were so. damn. cool. in real life before. It was ridiculous. Each one of them was confident, stylish, and their stage presence was just awesome. The ‘bass face’ was out in full form from Este, and Baby Haim and Danielle were effortless in their on stage swag. As soon as the set was over I became a die hard fan. I just want to be them. For a day. C’mon. 

Paramore at Reading and Leeds Fest

When I saw Paramore headline the main stage at Leeds I was just in awe the entire time. They’re kind of my guilty pleasure. I knew every word to every single song they played and I’ve no idea how. I just couldn’t believe that at the age of 27, Hayley Williams had thousands of people in the crowd eating out of her hands. They were hung up on every last note, got in to every song, and everywhere you turned people were dancing and singing along. Imagine being her at that moment when the first chords of Misery Business started to play? JUST IMAGINE. Compared to the stage she looked so tiny, but she must have felt a kind of power only Beyonce must feel when she’s finally ready for that jelly.

Be Your Own Pet, back in the day 

Oh gahhhdddd. Jemina Pearl. The girl who made me yearn for a leopard print skirt ever since I saw the Adventure video back in 2006, which was the year I saw them at Leeds Fest too. Actually, I’m pretty sure 2006 was the best line up year at Leeds, ever. Say what you will about lack of girls in bands, but there’s something pretty great about being a female front woman in a band made up of men. You’re basically the focal point of all the attention and they’re your support act. Sorry lads.

So let’s stop hating on the lack of females in the music industry and celebrate the ones who are. There are some amazing female vocalists and bands out there, just because they’re not playing a festival means nothing. The reason they’re not on certain line ups could be a variety of reasons: exclusivity to other festivals, fee’s, availability, genre?! Let’s not forget the women in the background, the ones behind the scenes making shit happen in our quest to be outraged at anything we can be over on Twitter.

Agree? Great!

Don’t agree? That’s fine. If every one agreed on everything the world would be a boring place.

But don’t poo-poo something for the sake of it. Don’t be negative for a reaction. Don’t hate, appreciate.