For anyone who’s watched all of the big festivals, or even attended them over the past few years will no doubt have noticed that it’s pretty much been a playground for male musicians. For as long as big-name festivals like Glastonbury, Radio 1 Big Weekend, Reading + Leeds and Isle of Wight have been running, the line-ups constantly appear to be dominated by male acts with women taking fewer of the performing slots, but things are set to change.

Women bands are on the rise

This has been an on-going problem and things need to change, and I’m a guy I’m saying this.

According to an audit, male-acts made up 80 percent of festival headlining acts. Take Glastonbury for example, since it began in 1970 there have only ever been 7 female fronted headliners; Suzanne Vega (1989), Sinead O'Connor (1990), Shakespeare’s Sister (1992), Skunk Anansie (1999), Beyoncé (2011), Florence and The Machine (2015) by default and most recently Adele (2016). There’s also Regine Chassagne of Arcade Fire (2014). The lack of equal gender balance has been cited as insane by numerous well-known female artists and many festivals have signed an agreement to balance the male/female ratio to an equal 50/50 by 2022.

A recent report by the BBC showed that from 2008 right up to last year, was that only 6 percent of headliners were women.

Combine that with 600 performers over 14 mainstream festivals only two out of ten headliners were women. Much of this though will have to depend on the following factors; tour scheduling, any interest in performing and are they too busy with prior commitments.

Either way, the PRS Foundation and Key-Change who decided upon the goal will definitely have their work cut out.

However, there are some who have already achieved it by doing it their own way. Rapper Little Simz who created her own festival, Wonderland, reported that female artists made over 70 percent of the line-up. Now the question to ask is that if she can achieve it then why can’t other festivals follow in her example, what is it that she’s doing that others aren’t?

Equal gender pledge

Earlier this year, Emily Eavis, one of the organisers of the Glastonbury Festival agreed to the equal gender 50/50 pledge by planning to have more female acts on the band bill, and they’re not the only ones. Others that have signed up in the UK are the Cheltenham Jazz Festival and Great Escape. International ones such as Breakout West (Canada), Euro-Sonic Noorderslag (Netherlands) including Reeperbahn Festival (Germany) have agreed to the pledge as well.

Coachella, which Beyoncé is headlining has made some headway with the pledge has managed to increase its female bookings from around 40 to just under 60 though there’s still a shortfall in the number of female acts that can increase ticket sales. Either way, both the PRS Foundation, Key-Change and all other festivals have officially got their work cut out if they are to meet this 50/50 pledge deadline in fours year time.