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03rd Mar 2023

Glastonbury 2023 controversy as all-white, all-male headliners announced

Emily Eavis has blamed the music industry for a lack of viable female headliners

The first wave of artists for Glastonbury 2023 have been announced, including a trio of all-male, all-white headliners.

Elton John had already been confirmed as the Sunday night headliner in December last year, but now festival organiser Emily Eavis has revealed the other two headliners to close out the Friday and Saturday nights.

Arctic Monkeys will headline the first night, their third time closing the Pyramid Stage, whilst legendary rock group Guns N’ Roses will make their first ever appearance at Worthy Farm by headlining the Saturday night.

The festival is likely to attract criticism though because of the lineup of all-white, all-male headliners for this year’s event.

But Eavis has said festivals are struggling with a dearth of viable female headliners due to an industry “pipeline” problem.

She explained to the Guardian that Guns N’ Roses were booked after a female headliner pulled out because she “changed her touring plans.”

Eavis didn’t name who this was, but Taylor Swift had been due to headline the 2020 edition of the festival before Covid-19 struck.

53% of the 55 names on this week’s partial lineup announcement are male.

Eavis said she remained “entirely focused on balancing our bill,” adding that it’s “not just about gender, it’s about every aspect of diversity.”

43% of those 55 names are non-white, or feature non-white members, and Afrobeats star Wizkid will headline the Other stage on Friday.

Eavis said Glastonbury was “probably one of the only big shows that’s really focused on this.”

The music industry needs to invest in more female musicians to create future headliners, she continued.

Eavis said: “We’re trying our best so the pipeline needs to be developed. 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.”

But she said that two women are set to headline next year’s festival – one confirmed, one close, and both of them Glastonbury first-timers.

Rihanna and Madonna are among the top-billing acts who have never played the festival.

The 2023 lineup so far is:

Arctic Monkeys
Guns N’ Roses
Elton John
Alison Goldfrapp
Amadou and Mariam
Becky Hill
Candi Staton
Carly Rae Jepsen
Cat Burns
Central Cee
Christine and the Queens
Ezra Collective
Fatboy Slim
Fever Ray
Fred Again
Hot Chip
Joey Bada$$
Lana Del Rey
Lewis Capaldi
Lil Nas X
Loyle Carner
Maggie Rogers
Manic Street Preachers
Nova Twins
Queens of the Stone Age
Rina Sawayama
Royal Blood
Stefflon Don
Sudan Archives
The Chicks
The War on Drugs
Weyes Blood
Young Fathers
Yusuf/Cat Stevens

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