The lack of diversity in music booking has long been a problem, and The 1975 are determined to do something about it. That’s why, from this day forward, the English pop group will no longer play music festivals that don’t have gender-balanced lineups.
Frontman Matt Healy announced the news on his Twitter account after a back-and-forth discussion with UK music critic Laura Snapes. After seeing Snapes criticize this year’s Reading and Leeds Festivals for their predominantly male bill, Healy realized artists like The 1975 have the power to use their popularity as leverage to demand equality on a lineup.
“Add a condition to your rider that says you’ll only play festivals that commit to X% (ideally 50%!) acts that include women and nonbinary performers,” Snapes suggested.
Healy wrote back, “Take this as me signing this contract — I have agreed to some festivals already that may not adhere to this and I would never let fans down who already have tickets. But from now I will and believe this is how male artist can be true allies.” He added, “I’m sure my agents are having kittens right now, but times up, man. People need to act and not chat.”
It’s a bit surprising Healy never realized this before, but heartening that he decided to do something this quickly. “Point is that Reading and Leeds with more women would be honestly the best festival in the world,” he continued. “That place is vibeyyy. Let’s not judge people and give the benefit of the doubt that people are going to start to listening ❤️❤️I can feel the change !!” Find all of his tweets below.
If it seems like women are being booked enough already, think again. According to Book More Women, a website that tracks gender balance on music festival lineups, women or non-binary folks generally take up 1/3 of a lineup. Boston Calling and Hangout give women roughly 1/4 the space that they give men on this year’s lineups. There’s something to be said for women or non-binary artists who weren’t available to perform, or who aren’t “popular” enough to warrant a festival slot — except festivals like Primavera Sound and Iceland Airwaves regularly debunk that by booking crowd-pleasing, gender-balanced lineups.
In 2018, 45 international music festivals pledged to work toward achieving a 50/50 lineup balance by 2022 as part of the groundbreaking Keychange Initiative.
Catch The 1975 live on their upcoming North American tour, which includes previously confirmed appearances at Beale Street Music Festival, Boston Calling, Bonnaroo, Hurricane & Southside Music Festivals, Forecastle, and Lollapalooza. Tickets to all of their upcoming concerts can be found here. The band’s new album, Notes on a Conditional Form, drops April 24th.