TRNSMT Festival announces lineup, faces backlash for all-male headliners

By Abby Jeffers, News Editor
[Photo courtesy of TRNSMT Festival]

TRNSMT Festival, a Scotland music festival, announced its 2019 lineup this week and is now facing backlash for its noticeable lack of female musicians, especially among the artists who will be featured on the festival’s main stage.

Read more: Nelsonville Music Festival announces Thee Oh Sees to 2019 lineup

The festival, which will be held from July 12-14 in Glasgow, Scotland, will host three male musicians in the top headlining spots: Stormzy, Catfish and the Bottlemen and George Ezra. Overall, only 20% of the lineup is female, as some Twitter users have pointed out. Just three female musicians will perform on the main stage over the course of the three-day festival.

This is despite the fact that Geoff Ellis, the boss of the festival, told BBC Newsbeat in 2018 that TRNSMT was “committed to doing more” to address the gender imbalances in music.

After facing a torrent of backlash on social media for this year’s lineup, Ellis said to NME that the festival aims to develop female musicians “to make them into headliners.”

Ellis pointed out that Sigrid, who is performing on the main stage this year, played on a side stage in 2018. He also said that DF Concerts, the company behind the festival, is booking several major female artists later in the year, but couldn’t add them to the festival due to scheduling conflicts.

TRNSMT’s lineup is not an isolated incident within the music industry, however, nor is it one exclusive to Scotland. Bunbury Music Festival, held in Cincinnati, Ohio each June, released its own lineup earlier in February, only for fans to point out that fewer than 10 of the 40 musicians performing are women or include women in their band.

But the music industry has talked about gender inclusivity in festival lineups in the past. Keychange, a European organization that “invests in female talent,” aims to eliminate the gender imbalance in the music industry and encourages music festivals across the globe to pledge to reach 50/50 gender equality by 2022.

As of Wednesday, Keychange listed nearly 150 festival partners on its site.

TRNSMT is not included in that group because Ellis does not want gender inclusion to be “forced,” according to BBC Newsbeat. He says that the festival is committed to addressing the gender imbalance, however, so only time will tell if it is effective. 

For more information about TRNSMT festival, check out its website here.

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