After taking a step back last year by booking Calvin Harris as the first EDM headliner (joking, sorta), Coachella has taken a step forward by booking Beyonce at 2017’s festival as its first female headliner (and first black female headliner) since Bjork topped the bill for the second time in 2007.
But just how gender diverse is the Coachella 2017 lineup? I did some math. Of the 151 listed on the poster that was released Tuesday, 38 are acts that have at least one major female member. That’s 25.1 percent of the total. Last year, I calculated 46 of the 162 acts on the poster to have at least one female member, for 28.3 percent of the total. So, a slight drop off from 2016 to 2017 — but 2016 was a festival high. In 2015, for instance, only 16 percent of the festival was female-led.
However, only a handful of those 38 acts are featured prominently on the poster. Of the top three lines underneath each of the headliners where the text is largest, only 11 of the 64 listed are female. That’s just 17.1 percent. The list includes Lorde, the XX, The Head and the Heart, Phantogram, Little Dragon and BANKS.
There’s quite a number of quality acts lower down the bill worth checking out that are predominantly female: Mitski, Oh Wonder, Shura, HINDS, and Tacocat are just a handful of them.
There are quite a few acts that didn’t make the cut that are currently touring, are on other festival bills or have new material on the way that feature major female contributors: Solange, HAIM, The Lumineers, Charli XCX, Sleigh Bells, The Naked & Famous, Chairlift, The Strumbellas, Andra Day, MØ, and others just off the top of my head. Shit, Carly Rae Jepsen put out one of the best pop albums of the last few years. Then there’s a number of up-and-coming female-led acts that could have been considered, like Wet, Julien Baker, White Lung, The Japanese House, Alina Baraz or Bully.
Could Coachella be doing better at booking women? There’s certainly some names out there they missed. But at least they’ve kept the numbers from plunging back to how low they were a few years ago.
To visualize what the poster looks like without the men on it, see below (and also forgive my MS Paint skills):
Top photo courtesy of Goldenvoice