Arctic Monkeys, Gun N’ Roses, and Elton John are headlining the 2023 Glastonbury Music Festival, signifying a more legacy focused – and very male — direction for the iconic British event. And while calls have intensified in recent years for music festivals and awards shows to diversify their bills, Glastonbury co-organizer Emily Eavis says a “pipeline” problem within the industry is to blame for not developing headline-worthy women artists.
Speaking to The Guardian, Eavis insisted that diversity of all identities was a big Glastonbury focus, noting that 46% of the lineup features people of color (48% of the names on the bill are women). “We’re trying our best so the pipeline needs to be developed,” Eavis said. “This starts way back with the record companies, radio. I can shout as loud as I like but we need to get everyone on board.”
Of course, Lizzo — who is performing right before Guns N’ Roses on Saturday, June 24th — definitely has the star power to headline, but the band was confirmed to play the festival before the COVID-19 pandemic even began. “She could totally headline,” Eavis said of Lizzo. “Many of the artists could. But the headline slot had already been promised to someone else.”
Booking Guns N’ Roses in the first place came after a woman artist set to headline “changed her touring plans,” Eavis said. She didn’t reveal the musician in question, but Taylor Swift was due to perform at the canceled 2020 installment of the festival, and her upcoming “The Eras Tour” includes dates through Glastonbury.
Next year, Eavis says, two women will headline Glastonbury, marking both artists’ first time at the festival. Still, Blondie, Carly Rae Jepsen, CHVRCHES, Kelis, Lana Del Rey, Maggie Rogers, Rina Sawayama, The Chicks, Warpaint, and Weyes Blood are among the women performing this year, and several of them have headlined a festival before.
Set for June 21st to 25th, Glastonbury’s initial 2023 lineup announcement features 54 artists, while more names will be announced at a later date. Check out the lineup poster below.