Get out your trust fund kids and racially ambiguous headdresses! Coachella 2016 is just around the corner. Known for its festival fashion and raging alt-music scene, this year’s Coachella is also officially a sausage fest with, once again, not a single female headliner anywhere to be seen.
This year’s headliners include an LCD Soundsystem reunion, as well as DJ Calvin Harris and a much anticipated (because we’re still not sure if Axl Rose is going to show up) Guns N Roses reunion. Pretty sweet. Except for one thing. Icelandic wonder-chic Björk headlined the festival in 2002 and 2007 and remains, to this day, the festival’s only female headlining act. That’s 17 years of a festival and only one female headliner ever of all time. At least they played it safe with a steady predictable artist like Björk. Wait...
Ok, Coachella. What’s your game?
Coachella tends to err towards “reunion” acts, and its alt-rock roots are typically fairly male-dominated. Some speculate that Pop Princesses such as Taylor Swift and Katy Perry may not want to headline the festival because they’re too busy with their own high-glitz tours. It may not make sense for them to dull down their shows to a festival-friendly caliber. Plus, why would an artist who trademarked the phrase “Swiftmas” in December (as well as four other phrases, including “1989”) be willing to share her merch booth with anyone? Taylor Swift, I’m looking at you.
I argue: reunion acts may not be the best way to keep things fresh with their mostly millennial audience. Plus, there are plenty of other young and hungry artists who deserve a shot. There are more than a few female fronted solo acts and bands that speak to Coachella’s audience -- not that patrons tend to use the lineup as motivation for purchasing their tickets. (It’s the experience, man!)
While Coachella has more total women on the 2016 lineup than ever before, it can’t help but be noticed that while Club Coachella may not be “no girls allowed,” it’s still mostly boys sitting at the big kids table. Even Sia, who is performing for the first time in years, didn’t snag a headlining spot, so we’ll all just have to swing on our chandeliers on one of the smaller stages. In fact, many of Coachella’s recurring female acts find themselves stuck in second-tier spits year after year. Ellie Gould is in the same spot this year as she was in 2014. Glass ceiling, anybody?
The festival, dubbed #Brochella in 2015, has long gotten flack for its lack of gender diversity. This year, there are 47 female artists playing the festival out of 162 total band or solo acts, making Coachella’s 2016 line up 71% male, which seems a little crazy in a world where women like Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus and Adele have more than a subtle presence in the Billboard charts.
The problem isn’t that women aren’t talented, it is that they aren’t in positions where they get to call the shots. #OscarsSoWhite is currently facing a similar crisis. If mostly men, and mostly white men at that, continue to make the rules, how could they not make them in their favor, either intentionally or simply due to personal preference. It wasn’t long ago that Hollywood believed no one would go see movies about women and thus refused to make them. I think we can officially throw that in the garbage, and party on with some ladies.