There are a glut of incredible females around, so why aren’t they headlining, why aren’t they on more bills… WHY IS THIS STILL A THING??
It’s noon on Saturday at Glastonbury 2007 and me and my best girls wake up determined to trundle through mud wastelands to cheer on the one, the only, The Pipettes. Remember them? Brighton’s all-female band responsible for such gems as ‘Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me’? We saw ourselves in The Pipettes, dressed like The Pipettes, sang The Pipettes on the bus to lectures, wanted to be The Pipettes. Our first Glasto was planned around The Pipettes, so much so we hauled hungover ass across the Somerset Somme to show our solidarity because they were the indie babes we could be if we weren’t knee deep in Pilton muck, our hair a wash of dry shampoo and Scrumpy Jacks. They were the best we had during a year when Arctic Monkeys, The Killers and The Who headlined. So we stood in an empty field fit for thousands, hoping that next time The Pipettes might reach the zenith of joining the all-male, trad bands that were a shoe-in year after year. Not that we didn’t love/want to marry Alex Turner and Brandon Flowers (less Roger Daltrey), but we couldn’t identify with them as women. It’d be nice to celebrate an all-female collective like us at the top of the bill.
Sadly our efforts remain in vain. For all-female bands, the festival landscape is bleak. Last week a study revealed that a paltry 3.5% of the six biggest line-ups consist of all-female bands (compared to a whopping 43% all-male), but why the under-representation? Not to get all ‘wimmin in music’ by cobbling together musicians who have nothing in common besides their genitals but… we have the strongest array of all-female bands on the scene for bygones. Savages, Warpaint, Haim, Honeyblood, Pins, Tegan & Sara, Dum Dum Girls, Ex Hex… The caliber is definitely high enough to not just play the biggest festivals, but sell them by being confidently positioned way up on the bill. These bands can smash through any glass ceiling of prejudice, just like a Jay Z or Metallica at Glastonbury. Isn’t it sad that we can challenge fans to be flexible with genres, but still can’t push them enough to celebrate female groups - actually FEMALES in general – as big draws?