This past week, Reading Festival announced their lineup for next year’s event, following the cancellation of this year’s weekend with the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Reading has once again proven itself to be an increasingly unaware, un-diverse, and an uninclusive music festival.
Following its announcement of an all-male headliner lineup, made up of 6 acts this time instead of the usual 3, Reading Festival has rightly received a wave of backlash. In the past 20 years, Reading and Leeds have only hosted ONE female-fronted headliner performer; Paramore in 2014, who co-headlined with Queens of the Stone Age (so they didn’t even have their own solo slot). Over 90% of headliners in Reading’s 50+ year lifespan have been cisgender men and the festical has cemented itself as failing to represent the reality of the music industry. It lacks the plethora of talented, incredible female performers, and it’s no longer a supportive platform that celebrates and uplifts artists.
This feels like a particular slap in the face to female performers as Reading actually doubled the number of main stages for next year, and yet still have zero female headliners. There is genuinely no excuse for this at this point. How can you claim to be the world’s greatest festival, and claim to support artists, when your stages apparently have no room for women? Not to mention the fact that the headliners, Liam Gallagher, Disclosure, Stormzy, Queens of the Stone Age, Post Malone, and Catfish and the Bottlemen, have all headlined before.
Here’s just a few female acts that could easily rock the Reading and Leeds Festival main stage:
Florence and the Machine, Dua Lipa, Haim, CHVRCHES, Wolf Alice, The XX, King Princess, Janelle Monae, Pale Waves, The Japanese House, Charli XCX, Mabel, Annie Mac, Marina, Elle Eyre, Anne-Marie, Dream Wife, London Grammar, Oh Wonder, girl in red, Phoebe Bridgers, Sports Team, Hayley Kiyoko, Dodie, Orla Gartland, Joy Crookes, Evanescence, Joni Mitchell, Fleetwood Mac, Missy Elliot, Paramore, Alabama Shakes, Blondie, Annie Lennox, Doja Cat, Megan Thee Stallion, No Doubt, Courteney Love, Echosmith, SZA, Bjork, Lorde, Lana Del Rey, Solange, The Pretty Reckless, MisterWives… the list could go on!
These are just a few off of the top of my head, there’s plenty more to choose from. Reading and Leeds Festival, do better!