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Splendour in the Grass Organisers Respond to Gender Diversity Criticisms

Splendour in the Grass released their 20th anniversary lineup on Wednesday, leading to a wave of criticism relating to the inclusion of female performers.

Image of Childish Gambino performing at Splendour in the Grass 2019

"I do think there's a difference between filling a quota to placate the critics and booking what's right for the festival," explained Splendour co-founder Jessica Ducrou.

Jess Gleeson/Supplied

Splendour in the Grass organisers have paused their 20th anniversary celebrations momentarily to share a statement regarding the apparent lack of gender diversity on this year’s lineup.

The festival announced its 2020 lineup on Wednesday morning, almost two months earlier than usual, with the likes of Flume, Tyler, The Creator, and The Strokes serving as headliners of the three-day July event.

Fan response was mixed, with many either praising the festival for its selection, or complaining that either artists like Tyler, The Creator – who was here over the new year period – aren’t headliner material, or that the appearance of Flume and The Strokes simply rehashed the 2016 lineup.

However, much backlash came by way of the lineup’s gender balance, with the Lineups Without Males Instagram account pointing out that 44% of the acts on the bill featured at least one non-male member, and that out of the ten top-billed acts, only the Yeah Yeah Yeahs feature a female member.

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Splendour In The Grass 2020, Byron 44% of artists feature at least one non-male member.

A post shared by LineupsWithoutMales (@lineupswithoutmales) on

In a statement offered up to The Brisbane Times, Splendour co-founder and producer Jessica Ducrou noted that the lack of female artists wasn’t a conscious decision, but rather an unintended effect of ensuring that attendees were entertained.

“I say this as a woman working in the music industry, who supports women and would call myself a feminist: I’m 100 per cent committed to supporting women in any way I can, but I do think there’s a difference between filling a quota to placate the critics and booking what’s right for the festival,” Ducrou explained.

“[Gender balance] is certainly something we consider when we’re booking, but I think a majority of performers who are women would appreciate that they’re chosen because they’re great, not because they’re women.”

“Part of the challenge has always been that we can only book what’s actively out there on the market and popular and selling tickets if we want to survive. I’m pleased to see that, even from three or four years ago, there’s just a lot more to choose from in terms of female-fronted acts, women in bands, and as DJs and performers than there’s ever been. That’s made it easier for me to do my job.”

The topic of gender-diverse lineups has become all the more relevant in recent years, with 2018 seeing 45 global festivals pledging to achieve gender equality by 2022. More recently, The 1975 frontman Matty Healy pledged to only play festivals that feature a certain percentage of women and non-binary performers.

Splendour in the Grass is set to be held in the North Byron Parklands between July 24 and 26 with more additions expected to be made to the lineup.

Splendour in the Grass 2020 Lineup

Flume (Only Aus show)
The Strokes
Tyler, The Creator (Only Aus show)
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Midnight Oil (The Makarrata Project)
Glass Animals
Denzel Curry
Duke Dumont Live
Violent Soho
Mura Masa

100
Adrian Eagle
Alex The Astronaut
Alice Ivy
Andy Golledge
The Babe Rainbow perform The Velvet Underground’s Loaded
Bad//Dreems
Baker Boy
Banoffee
Benee
The Big Moon
Brame & Hamo
Bruno Major
Charlie Collins
The Chats
Chillinit
Cry Club
Cub Sport
Dillon Francis
DMA’S
Dom Dolla
Dro Carey & DJ Scorpion
Fazerdaze
G Flip
George Alice
Georgia
Gerry Cinnamon
Greentea Peng
Grinspoon
Grouplove
Gryffin
Hooligan Hefs
Idles
Illy
Inhaler
Jack Garratt
Jack River
Jarreau Vandal
Joy Crookes
JPEGMAFIA
Julia Jacklin
Julia Stone
The Jungle Giants
King Krule
King Princess
Kllo
The Lazy Eyes
Lex Deluxe
Lillie Mae
Lime Cordiale
Mako Road
Mall Grab
Memphis LK
Methyl Ethel
Mickey Kojak
Miiesha
Mildlife
Miss June
Mo’Ju (fka Mojo Juju)
Muna
Northeast Party House
Oliver Tree
Petit Biscuit
Pink Matter
PUP
Rolling Blackouts CF
Ruel
Sampa The Great
Shaed
Shannon & The Clams
Sly Withers
Sofi Tukker
The Soul Movers
Starcrawler
Stella Donnelly
Stevan
Still Woozy
Surfaces
Thelma Plum
Tierra Whack
Tim Minchin
Triple One
Wallows
triple j Unearthed winners

Plus Mix-Up DJs

Dena Amy
Jordan Brando
Luen
Aywy
Shantan Wantan Ichiban
AK Sports
Sauti Systems
Moktar
Carolina Gasolina

Friday, July 24th – Sunday, July 26th
North Byron Parklands, Tweed Valley Way, Wooyung, NSW
More info: Splendour in the Grass