An undeniable truth is that the lineups of major music festivals around the world tend to feature significantly more male performers than female ones. Book More Women, which highlights the gender balance of festival lineups, notes in its social media bios, “In 2017, only 26% of acts playing major US music festivals featured at least 1 womxn or non-binary musician.”
Primavera Sound has been more progressive on that front than just about anybody, though. Their 2019 lineup featured an equal number of male and female artists, which was the result of a new initiative from the festival, The New Normal. The fest recently announced its 2020 lineup, and the roster is balanced once again.
Book More Women notes that according to a “quick count,” 53 percent of the acts on the lineup feature at least one woman. Meanwhile, Guardian deputy music editor Laura Snapes wrote on Twitter that by her tally, 84 of the acts are “all-male,” while 97 of them are “female/[non-binary]/mixed,” and that she was unsure about two of them. That also comes out to 53 percent.
Primavera Sound does it again! 53% of acts feature at least one woman according to my quick count. 👍 https://t.co/kNNcF7OoPX
— Book More Women (@BookMoreWomen) January 16, 2020
I couldn't see the New Normal branding on Primavera's announcement so I painstakingly counted to see if they were still sticking to it: 84 all-male acts, 97 female/nb/ mixed (and two I couldn't tell). Kudos to them for continuing to show it is eminently, effortlessly possible!
— Laura Snapes (@laurasnapes) January 16, 2020
Snapes also observed that the fest dropped its The New Normal branding this year, and to that, Primavera Sound responded, “We are not highlighting it anymore because for us the new normal is now just normal.”
Thanks Laura, we are not highlighting it anymore because for us the new normal is now just normal.
— Primavera Sound (@Primavera_Sound) January 16, 2020
For comparison purposes, Book More Women has noted in recent months that the 2020 lineups of other major festivals aren’t as equal when it comes to gender. Bonnaroo’s lineup features 25 percent women, while Coachella is at 36 percent, and Stagecoach is at 31 percent. Those figures haven’t seen significant changes over the past few years.
In an interview last year, Marta Pallarès, international press manager and spokesperson for The New Normal initiative, said of festival lineups, “If we live in a world that claims that men and women have the same rights, that we are equal on every aspect — or should be — how’s that we weren’t still equal on stage? […] There is so many good music made by women as the one made by men nowadays, and when you understand that the concept of a headliner is not the same today as it was in 2008, it’s easier to be convinced about what you are doing. A black R&B woman deserves as much as a white male guitar band to be a headliner — if her music is worth it, and we believe this is our case.”
Primavera Sound is set to go down at Parc del Fòrum in Barcelona from June 3 to 7; in Porto, Portugal from June 11 to 13; and in Los Angeles from September 19 to 20. The lineup is headlined by Tyler The Creator, Lana Del Rey, and The Strokes, and also features Massive Attack, Pavement, The National, Beck, Bad Bunny, Disclosure, Brockhampton, Bikini Kill, Kacey Musgraves, King Princess, Young Thug, Iggy Pop, Caribou, King Krule, Brittany Howard, DJ Shadow, Chromatics, Maggie Rogers, Earl Sweatshirt, Freddie Gibbs & Madlib, Kim Petras, Weyes Blood, and many others.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.