Emily Eavis: 'There aren't enough female headliners'

By Mark Savage
BBC Music reporter

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Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Emily Eavis organises Glastonbury with her father and festival founder Michael

Glastonbury boss Emily Eavis has said she struggles to find female artists to play the festival's top slots.

Although Adele and Beyonce have both headlined the festival in recent years, this year's main acts are all male - Stormzy, The Killers and The Cure.

Eavis said she wanted to put a woman at the top of the bill, "but the pool isn't big enough".

"It's time to nurture female talent. Everyone wants it, everyone's hungry for women, but they're just not there."

There is also a shortage of new male headliners coming through the ranks, she added.

"It's that final jump. It's hard to make the leap to that level."

Although all three Pyramid Stage headliners are male, 42% of the line-up announced so far is female - a much higher proportion than most UK festivals.

But Eavis said she had been forced to confront an "impenetrable", male-dominated culture in her pursuit of equality.

"I'm ashamed to say that, within our organisation, there's men who book stages, and quite a few of them are old men and they don't understand why I'm pushing all the time.

"One of them presented their line-up this year and I was like, 'I'm really sorry but you're just going to have to take some of the blokes off. There's no women.' And they were like, 'Oh for God's sake, you've lost your mind.'

"I know they're labelling me as a real hassle and it's such a pain. They're like, 'Shut up,' and, 'It wasn't like this when your dad was in charge'.

"But if you want to make progress you just have to do it, and you have to be up for being a bit of an annoyance."

She continued: "Unfortunately, you have to make a massive jump the other way in order to make the tiniest bit of progress, and that means me being really pushy.

"We're nowhere near where we need to be. We're making slow progress, but there's still a long way to go."

Image source, Glastonbury festival

More than 60 acts have been announced for this year's Glastonbury - with Kylie Minogue, Janet Jackson, Miley Cyrus, Billie Eilish and Lauryn Hill among the high-profiled female artists.

The festival is expected to announce the rest of the bill shortly before it opens its gates in June.

Eavis, who co-organises Glastonbury with her father, Michael, was speaking at AMP London, an event staged by BBC Radio 1's Annie Mac.

With husband Nick Dewey, Eavis is responsible for booking all of the festival's main stages.

The event sold out in just half an hour last October, but cancelled tickets will be put back on sale on Sunday 28 April.

Eavis recently confirmed that The Prodigy had been booked to play prior to frontman Keith Flint's tragic death earlier this month.

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