Matty Healy, singer of recent Laneway headliners The 1975, has agreed to add a condition to the band’s rider which will require festivals they play to commit to gender equality in their lineup.
The singer made the pledge after The Guardian’s deputy music editor Laura Snapes asked Healy on Twitter to add the condition, saying they’d only play “festivals that commit to X% (ideally 50%!) acts that include women and non binary performers.”
Healy responded with, “Take this as me signing this contract – I have agreed to some festivals already that may not adhere to this and I would never let fans down who already have tickets.
But from now I will, and believe this is how male artists can be true allies.”
The commitment came after this year’s Reading and Leeds festivals – headlined by Rage Against the Machine – were criticised for their lack of equal representation in the billing. The first announcement included 91 artists, out of which only 20 are female or feature women.
Healy went on to give an interview with Snapes and Ben Beaumont-Thomas over at The Guardian, where he explained the issue was important to him “because the people that go to them feel more included and more represented. It’s as simple as that. All the best art for me made me feel personally addressed.”
Healy discussed the way that, relative to larger world issues, ensuring gender parity in the music industry was a relatively easy goal to action.
“When it comes to big sociopolitical issues and governments are involved, sometimes action or protest can just be ignored. But when it comes to the music industry, we can change that,” he said.
“It’s not a geopolitical nightmare: it’s the music industry, and it’s something that if everyone gets on board, we can fix.”