Music Festivals: Are Women Catching Up And Transforming the Music Festival Scene?

Will 2020 be the year the local music festivals make way for Femme Fatales across the nation?

Aryana Sofea
February 4, 2020
2 minutes

Will 2020 be the year the local music festivals make way for Femme Fatales across the nation?  The AirAsia RedTix insight team touches base on the gender balance in festival line-ups in Malaysia. 

The music industry is moving forward with more females dominating the music charts in recent years. According to Spotify, the top-streamed artists in 2019 was Post Malone at the #1 spot, followed by Billie Eilish at #2 and Arianna Grande at #3. Women artists are thriving and have made their mark in virtual reality through music and video streaming apps. However, A BBC study in the UK discovered that in 2017, 80% of festival headliners were male - which doesn’t reflect the diversity in the music scene. 

“We love music and if you love music in 2019, it’s quite obvious that it’s done both by men and women the same way,” says Marta Pallares Olivares, Primavera’s Sound spokesperson.

Local women talents are popping up like wild mushrooms in the multiple music genre forests with strong acts such as Daiyan Trisha, Zamaeera, Elizabeth Tan, Lunadira and Dasha Logan; and they have entertained multiple stages such as Good Vibes Festival and Urbanscapes. However, the festival line-ups in Malaysia are still 70% dominated by men.

In comparison with the festival lineup in neighbouring countries such as Indonesia for their annual top music festival, We The Fest, they’ve managed to slightly balance the scale between men and women - featuring 44% of women and co-ed performances.

Besides that, the Performing Rights Society(PRS) Foundation and Festival Republic in the UK have initiated the Keychange scheme where international festivals are encouraged to meet a 50/50 gender spilt aim by 2022. 45 festivals across Europe have committed to this scheme so far.  In June 2019, Primavera Sound which is a festival that takes place in Barcelona became the first major festival to feature a 50/50 line-up. The Spanish festival featured superstars like Lizzo, Janelle Monae, and FKA Twigs. 

Let’s put things into perspective. Females make up almost 50% of music listening audiences, if we were to live in an equal society then wouldn’t that translate to a 50/50 split in our festival lineup? Having 50/50 line-ups will not only break down stereotypes regarding performers, music, and technology but also create safe spaces for growth, connection with other women for support, as well as networking with other talents and agencies - these elements will mould a lasting change to bring about a more inclusive music industry of the future. 

This is the 21st Century and the new feminism wave is upon us, paving a path towards the right direction because women are always right….right? 💁‍♀️