IT IS supposed to be a showcase of the best that music has to offer.
But the organisers of the Leeds Festival yesterday faced fierce criticism from music fans after just one female performer was included in the current line-up.
An American band Against The Current, who are fronted by Chrissy Costanza, is the only act to include a woman of the 20 performers who have been announced so far for this year’s festival at Bramham Park.
Kasabian were revealed yesterday as headliners – just five years after they last took top billing – alongside the previously-announced Muse.
Other acts who have been announced by organisers of the festival – which has its sister event in Reading – include Two Door Cinema Club, Fatboy Slim, Jimmy Eat World and Wiley, as well as Australian DJ Flume, indie rockers Circa Waves and Rat Boy.
It means that the line-up currently features 57 men and just one woman, a figure initially reported by the music blog, Crack In The Road, and confirmed by the festival.
Fans criticised the festival on social media, with Sami Chaerin telling organisers they should call it the “we hate women festival 2017”. She added: “There are plenty of female acts that provide music worthy of festivals and there are none here.”
And Matthew Gordon said on Twitter: “See Reading & Leeds have gone with the male dominated route again, how original.”
Meanwhile, Mairi Ella said she had become “conditioned to seeing male lead acts dominating festival line ups”. The joint festivals, organised by Festival Republic, have faced similar criticism in the past. The organisers yesterday declined to comment on the latest accusations.
However, the festival’s director, Melvin Benn, gave an interview to a national newspaper in January 2015 during which he defended the event’s record on equality.
In the interview, he said: “This idea that female bands are sidelined as a suggestion is just not there. The truth is that there has been a historic lack of opportunity for young women to get into bands, and to be in bands, and I think that’s disappeared now.
“For me, it’s never been about the gender of the band, it’s been about the quality of the band.”
Reading and Leeds Festival 2017 will run in the respective locations between August 25 and 27.