Where My Ladies At? Females Fit For Any Festival


While many are bathing in the after glow of a wild weekend at Splendour, one particular niggling qualm has lingered longer than my hangover.

Quite simply, no amount of contraband goon snuck into a sleeping bag satisfactorily offset the bitter taste in my mouth at the lack of female faces staring back at me from the stage.

I went through the entire line up and counted the number of bands which contained a female – many of which only have one lady among a number of men – and came to the dismally unsatisfying number of 25%. Furthermore, in the top three rows of the line up on the SITG website – typically reserved for the ‘biggest’ acts, Santigold was the only female out of 18.

The gender imbalance in popular rock music is as complex as it is obvious. Its’ origins are multifaceted – from the socially engrained perceptions of ‘rock’ as masculine and thus populated with boys from a young age, to the systematic decisions that are made in festival programming and radio play rotations. While I acknowledge that these festivals and radio stations respond to what people consume, I also think that they play an enormous role in shaping what’s popular – creating a whole ‘chicken or the egg’ dilemma in this discussion.

And while I pay heed to the complexity of this issue, 25% just isn’t fucking good enough. There are so many amazing female musicians in this day and age, it’s absurd we don’t see more of them on the big stage of enormous festivals. Thus, I’ve taken the liberty of suggesting some for future programmers.


These are the big draw cards, often super old school doing a comeback, or just have a huge fan base – e.g. The Cure, The Strokes, Flume, etc.

Hole, Sleater-Kinney, No Doubt, Fleetwood Mac.




They’ve been floating about the past few years, you’ve listened to their albums or at least heard their name, and finally they’re making it Down Under – e.g. Leon Bridges, Jagwar Ma, Fat White Family, etc.

Anohni, Hinds, Screaming Females, Haim, Amanda Palmer, Waxahatchee, Hundred Waters, Moon Duo, Pussy Riot, Bully, Alvvays, Speedy Ortiz, White Lung, The Kills, Courtney Barnett.


Watch our full studio session with Hinds here.




Not quite a household name yet, but this category is sitting on the precipice – often including international go-getters, but mostly local freshies.

Mere Women, Major Leagues, Gabriella Cohen, Diet Cig, Slutever, U.S. Girls, Girlpool, Pharmakon, Bec Sandridge, Frankie Cosmos.



About Georgia Quinn

I'm a Sydney-based filmmaker and I write about music for fun. Seeing women on stage is one of my favourite things.

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