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Jake Marley: TRNSMT’s ‘Queen’s stage’ howler shows there’s still work to be done – a week on from Primavera’s gender equality success story

Jake Marley: TRNSMT’s ‘Queen’s stage’ howler shows there’s still work to be done – a week on from Primavera’s gender equality success story

Glasgow’s TRNSMT festival received a fresh backlash yesterday over an ill-judged decision to announce a late addition to their virtually female free lineup in the form of a female-only ‘queens stage’ – something that has not gone down well and neither should it.


Back in February Glasgow’s TRNSMT music festival received a barrage of negative PR having announced an almost entirely male-dominated lineup for the third year running. Yesterday, in an effort to save face the festival unveiled their ‘new addition’ – the ‘Queen Tut’s stage’. An announcement that’s only made things worse.

Out of touch: TRNSMT’s ‘Queen Tut’s stage’ announcement yesterday (June 6)

Coming off as an extremely desperate token gesture to try and score cheap PR points – TRNSMT have dropped a serious clanger here and it has spiralled into a PR disaster. Exactly the sort ill-judged response you’d expect from a festival that hasn’t shown much desire to support female artists from day one.

The male dominated main stages were announced in February and it’s taken until the beginning of June – 5 weeks before the festival – for this last minute botch job to try and cover up the shockingly low amount of female artists booked by TRNSMT.

It’s a man’s world: TRNSMT’s male-dominated 2019 lineup announced in February.

The idea itself is bad enough, yet when you dig into the execution of it; the wording of the press release, branding and social media posts it just gets worse and worse, headed up by the ‘messiah-like’ notion that they’re “nurturing local [female] talent” to break down the ‘gender play gap’.

I really can’t fathom how a major festival can sit there in 2019 and think segregating women on a stage on their own is a positive move and will be seen as such by the music industry and more importantly women. It’s deeply worrying that a major music festival can be so out of touch.

Just last week Barcelona’s Primavera Sound achieved a 50:50 lineup which included the likes of FKA Twigs, Carly Rae Jepsen, Janelle Monáe, Miley Cyrus, Solange and Christine & The Queens topping the bill and dozens upon dozens of female artists appearing across the festival.

Gender equal, it can be done: Primavera Sound’s 50:50 gender-split lineup for 2019.

Obviously these are two different festivals in two different cities with two different target audiences. However, there are indie, rock and punk alternatives to the names above. The point still remains…

IT CAN BE DONE AND IT SHOULD BE DONE.

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