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.
Also how hard is it to find a female headliner?
— Bridget Hustwaite (@BHustwaite) February 18, 2020
Maybe expectations were too high, but this Splendour line-up is really lacking the wow factor for me.
Flume and Strokes both from 2016 and where’s the female headliner?!
— Alister Newstead (@AlNewstead) February 18, 2020
Particularly considering I don’t think Tyler is truly at headliner level yet. There are just so, so many women on the same tier as The Strokes & Flume. Feels like they exhausted the wishlist (ie. Lana) and gave up https://t.co/L7Ik42p8EB
— Nic Kelly (@nicwkelly) February 18, 2020
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)
Tyler, The Creator (Only Aus show)
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Midnight Oil (The Makarrata Project)
Duke Dumont Live
Alex The Astronaut
The Babe Rainbow perform The Velvet Underground’s Loaded
The Big Moon
Brame & Hamo
Dro Carey & DJ Scorpion
The Jungle Giants
The Lazy Eyes
Mo’Ju (fka Mojo Juju)
Northeast Party House
Rolling Blackouts CF
Sampa The Great
Shannon & The Clams
The Soul Movers
triple j Unearthed winners
Plus Mix-Up DJs
Shantan Wantan Ichiban
Friday, July 24th – Sunday, July 26th
North Byron Parklands, Tweed Valley Way, Wooyung, NSW
More info: Splendour in the Grass