The 1975’s frontman Matty Healy has made a public pledge to only play festivals that have a gender balanced line-up.
As the reverberations of the recent Reading and Leeds Festival announcements began ringing out across social media channels, when much of the nation was excited by the prospect of Rage Against The Machine and Stormzy, it also begged the question—where are the women?
The line-up was hugely weighted in the favour of all-male acts and with festivals such as Primavera Sound and Iceland Airwaves committed to booking gender-balanced lineups (lineups with at least 50% of the artists booked are not entirely male) it made the under 25% of acts featuring women at Reading & Leeds feel flimsy at best.
Guardian writer Laura Snapes was tired of the constant lack of representation and decided to call out the festival using their headliner, and staunch activists Rage Aginst The Machine via her Twitter account.
It led to some questions around their values as activists for equality, a line which initially intrigued the lead singer, Healy. The journalist then suggeste that Healy add a clause to his rider “that says you’ll only play festivals that commit to X% (ideally 50%!) acts that include women and non binary performers.”
It was all the persuasion Healy needed as he positively replied saying “take this as me signing this contract.” Later saying that it was time to “act not chat”.
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 ❤️ https://t.co/1eaZG2hEze— ?? (@Truman_Black) February 12, 2020
The 1975 frontman wrote on Twitter: “I have agreed to some festivals already that may not adhere to this [condition] and I would never let fans down who already have tickets.”He continued, “But from now I will and believe this is how male artist can be true allies.”
He went on to admit his agents would be “having kittens” about his new pledge but insisted that “time’s up” for festivals who don’t actively look to support women. Concluding, “The point is that Reading and Leeds with more women would be honestly the best festival in the world.”
“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!”