Ranked: This year’s big UK festival lineups with the fewest female acts

No festivals managed to get a 50/50 split of men and women this year

It’s been a rocky time for festivals lately, with many forced to cancel for the second year in a row and others uncertain about whether they’ll be able to go ahead later in the summer. You’d think, however, that the past year or so would have given festival organisers ample opportunity to sort out female representation at their events. Think again.

It’s no secret that festivals are pretty appalling when it comes to hiring an even balance of female and male acts to perform. On average, just two in 10 acts at UK festivals are female, according to data collected by Protectivity. While some festivals are improving (albeit at a snail’s pace) others are severely lagging behind and some are even getting worse.

Here’s a ranking of this year’s big UK festival lineups, based on the percentage of acts who are female, from terrible to still not that good.

7. Wireless- 10 per cent

Just 10 per cent of acts set to perform at Wireless 2021 are female. What’s more shocking is that the gender-balance of the festival’s lineup is actually going down.

In 2019, 20 per cent of acts were female while on the 2020 lineup this figure sank to 14 per cent.

6. TRNSMT- 12 per cent

Like Wireless, TRNSMT has seen the percentage of women on the bill go down from 13 per cent in 2019 and 2020, to 12 per cent in 2021. It’s only a small decrease, but surely it should be going the other way.

5. Reading and Leeds / Isle of Wight- 14 per cent


Reading and Leeds has often taken criticism for its gender imbalance and has made a significant, but far from amazing, increase in female performers this year, from 9 per cent in 2020 to 14 per cent in 2021.

Tied with Reading and Leeds, 14 per cent of performers on the lineup for this year’s Isle of Wight festival are female.

4. Latitude- 29 per cent

Significantly better than the last four, but still nowhere near where it should be, 29 per cent of performers booked by Latitude are women.

3. Bestival (Camp Bestival)- 32 per cent

Out of all the festivals, Bestival (now Camp Bestival) has improved the gender balance of its lineup the most over time. In 2020, 22 per cent of acts meant to perform were women whereas in 2021, this had risen to 32 per cent. Still a way to go!

2. Glastonbury (Live at Worthy Farm)- 38 per cent

After hitting the goal of a 50/50 gender split for the Glastonbury 2020 lineup, the percentage of women performing at this year’s downscaled Live at Worthy Farm dropped to 38 per cent. That’s still more than in 2019 when just under a third of acts (32 per cent) were female.

1. Parklife- 44 per cent


Lorde performing in 2018

Parklife is leading the way in terms of creating an even gender balance of acts performing at a festival. 44 per cent of all acts on the 2021 lineup were female (down eight per cent in comparison with the previous year). But, it’s still not an even split fo it’s got some way to go.

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