Reading and Leeds have twice as many main stages in 2021, but no female headliners

Since 2000, Foo Fighters have headlined Reading more times than all women have

Reading and Leeds have announced next year’s festival will have six headliners across two main stages – but forgot to book a single female headliner.

Stormzy, Liam Gallagher, Queens of the Stone Age, Catfish and the Bottlemen, and Post Malone will be headlining next year’s festival. Gallagher and Stormzy were billed to headline the 2020 festival before it was postponed, and have been invited back.

Just three acts featuring women have headlined the twin festivals since 2000 – Paramore, Arcade Fire, and the White Stripes – with only the former two being female-fronted.

In that time, Eminem, Muse, and Metallica have each headlined three times. Foo Fighters have headlined four times.

Reading and Leeds’ efforts stand in contrast to the gender-balanced line-ups of festivals elsewhere. In 2019, Spain’s Primavera Sound announced a “New Normal” for its lineup, with the event featuring equal amounts of male and female artists. Solange, Cardi B, Janelle Monáe, and Erykah Badu headlined the Barcelona festival.

This year’s cancelled Glastonbury line-up featured 52 per cent female artists, with organiser Emily Eavis telling NME she was “really really passionate” about the balance.

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