Coachella or ‘brochella’? Festival once again lacks female headliners

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Source:   —  April 16, 2016, at 0:05 AM

Once again, has number female headliners for the shows Friday through Sun (and for the festival’s second weekend, April 22-24). Since it emerged out of the alternative rock scene in one thousand nine hundred ninety-ninth, the festival has featured more than forty headlining acts spanning hip-hop, folk, EDM, pop, heavy metal and classic rock.

Coachella or ‘brochella’? Festival once again lacks female headliners

The Empire Polo field in Indio will be filled with women this weekend for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, but it'll be a different story onstage.

Once again, has number female headliners for the shows Friday through Sun (and for the festival’s second weekend, April 22-24). Since it emerged out of the alternative rock scene in one thousand nine hundred ninety-ninth, the festival has featured more than forty headlining acts spanning hip-hop, folk, EDM, pop, heavy metal and classic rock.

Yet only one female-centric act, Bjork, has ever stepped on the main stage as a festival headliner, and that was nearly ten years ago.

The absence of female performers – at a time when women regulation the population charts – has led some to dub the festival “brochella.”

This year’s headliners are LCD Soundsystem, Guns N' Roses and Calvin Harris.

As for the rest of the roster, fewer than a quarter of Coachella’s one hundred sixty-seven acts are female artists or acts fronted by women.

Still, that’s an improvement over latest year, when they represented just sixteen % of the talent onstage.

Coachella is promoted by Goldenvoice, a unit of entertainment giant AEG, and the lineup is curated by festival co-founder Paul Tollett. Both Goldenvoice and Tollett declined to comment for this story.

Some in the industry argue that there aren’t sufficient female artists who fit Coachella’s headliner aesthetic – edgy, nonpop acts that are large sufficient to draw a crowd.

However, Coachella’s early indie rock focus has expanded with the festival to comprise enormous acts such as classic rockers AC/DC and former “Degrassi High” star turned chart-topping rapper Drake.

Their presence suggests that Coachella’s definition of the ideal headliner has widened to comprise male figures who top the charts, yet women with similar credentials remain absent.

“People assume that it’s a complete accident or a bunch of overweight cats sitting around a table with cigars thinking how can we depress the women,” says Andi Zeisler, a former music columnist and author of “We Were Feminists Once.” “It’s not. It’s a cumulative problem, decades and decades of stereotypes and ambient bias against women in music.”

Setting the bar

Even setting aside mainstream population artists love Beyonce and Taylor Swift, there’s number lack of female performers with a fringe aesthetic who could headline Coachella’s main stage, including Missy Elliott, Sleater-Kinney, M. I. A. and Patti Smith.

Many fans would add singer Ellie Goulding, who plays Friday close the top of the bill, to that list. Eclectic, EDM-skewing and large sufficient to sell out Staples Middle (as she did earlier this month), she’s the ideal candidate to headline the festival.

The lack of female acts at Coachella and other fests such as Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza is at odds with who is attending.

A two thousand fifteen Nielsen report found that women slightly outnumber men at music festivals (Goldenvoice doesn’t allow a breakdown of Coachella attendance by gender).

“Coachella sets the bar for other festivals, and frequently bands who play there will finish up at other festivals around the country,” says Liz Garo, vice president of talent for Spaceland Productions, who books the Echoplex and the Regent. “They see to what Coachella is doing, and maybe that’s how it snowballs. If there aren’t a lot of women at Coachella, there aren’t a lot at other festivals.”

For retail fashion companies, catering to the tastes of Coachella’s women isn't a risk, but a business opportunity. Many have fashion lines inspired by the festival, such as Free People’s feathered headdresses or fringe jumpsuits from the H&M Loves Coachella line.

“Coachella is marketed so explicitly to youthful women as this space where you can go, dress up, and it’s all about aesthetics and youthful cute celebrities,” says Zeisler.

“There is this genuine chasm between how it’s marketed to women in this very superficial way and how it approaches female musicians.”

Fashion aside, Coachella has arrive a long way from the hand wringing of possessive indie rock fans who fretted about the festival’s tilt toward population with Madonna’s appearance in 2006.

That year, she was relegated to the festival’s biggest dance tent – and was a hit – but latest year there were number such worries when she again appeared onstage as a visitor with headliner Drake, an artist whose keep on population radio is distant stronger presently than hers was then.

Swift may be this year’s Madonna. She’s dating EDM’s Harris, and many think she'll create a astonishment appearance Sunday night.

There are also reports that Kesha, who’s been embroiled in a against her producer, may drop in.

‘Bro culture’

While festival organizers won’t speak about why there are so few women on the bill, Shirley Halperin of music industry trade publication Billboard says it probably boils down to concerns that booking population stars in top slots might dent future ticket sales.

“There’s presently a tiny bit of bro culture to the festivalgoers,” says Halperin, the publication’s news director. “I don’t know that Goulding as a headliner would appeal to those people. Though tickets sell out way before the lineup is announced, maybe when the lineup is being keep together, there’s a small more thought to what the male attendees of Coachella wish to see. When you’ve got Guns N' Roses on a bill, it’s kind of tough to sell Ellie Goulding as well.”

Coachella’s like for mixing the elderly with the new, the blockbuster with the obscure, is portion of its charm. Many believe that mix would prove even stronger with more women at the top, be it Siouxsie and the Banshees, PJ Harvey, Smith, Nicki Minaj or Lauryn Hill (with or without a reunited Fugees).

If Coachella can draw Guns N' Roses back together, anything’s possible.

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