Women are still underrepresented in music

3 mins read

The announcement of the TRNSMT Festival line-up has faced criticism from fans for under-representing female artists, with only ten women making the line-up.

Stormzy, Catfish and the Bottlemen, and George Ezra were announced as the all-male headliners while Jess Glynne, Sigrid and Mabel were the most high-profile female artists to make the festival’s line-up.

Earlier this month, the Grammys celebrated the success of female artists with many categories won by women. In response to Recording Academy President Neil Portnow’s remark at last year’s awards that women needed to “step up”, best new artist winner Dua Lipa commented: “I guess we really stepped up this year”.

With the likes of Lipa, Kacey Musgraves and Cardi B dominating the awards ceremony and noteworthy performances from Janelle Monae and Camilla Cabello, the Grammys displayed the various talented women in music. Lipa’s unlikely duet with indie rocker St Vincent best captured the female talent of today’s music in a performance full of confidence and swagger.

Following the backlash to Portnow’s comments, this year’s awards ceremony gave women the much needed recognition that previous shows lacked. The efforts of the Grammys and festivals like Primavera Sound to improve the representation of women has made the announcement of TRNSMT’s predominantly male line-up all the more disappointing.

Festival organiser Geoff Ellis attributed the lack of female headliners to clashes with other events, but hoped that the female artists performing at this year’s festival would become future main headliners.

While Ellis noted Florence and the Machine, and CHVRCHES’ headlining slots at Edinburgh Summer Sessions prevented TRNSMT from signing up two of music’s biggest female-led artists, this year’s Grammys ceremony showed that the music industry is definitely not lacking in female talent.

Ellis said he hoped TRNSMT would provide a “platform to the like of Catherine McGrath, Jade Bird and Mahalia” who are playing on the smaller King Tut’s stage. Following Sigrid’s performance last year on the King Tut’s stage, he said: “It’s great to have her on the main stage this year.”

Many fans displayed their disappointment with this year’s line-up on social media with one person commenting that Dua Lipa, Ariana Grande and Haim should have been candidates for the main headliner slots.

With the disappointing response from fans, organisers will already be under pressure to ensure women are fairly represented in future events, and will hope to see some of this year’s performers from the King Tut’s Stage make the leap to the main stage.


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