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06th Jul 2018

Gender inequality to be tackled at this weekend’s Wireless Festival

Will Lavin

Things in the festival world are changing

Did you know that a bi­annual study of festival lineups across the UK and Europe by Female:Pressure, showed that in 2017 women only accounted for 19% of festival headliners?

Looking to tackle this type of gender inequality head-on this year at Wireless Festival, the team behind Smirnoff, with support from Festival Republic and Rinse FM, will curate an all-female lineup for Smirnoff House, with hosts Julie Adenuga and Emerald joined by artists such as Lady Leshurr, Quay Dash, Bad Gyal, Paigey Cakey, Barely Legal and Work It DJs.

Now in its second year, Smirnoff Equalising Music is a 3­year, global initiative to escalate gender parity in the music industry by 2020 and redress the gender imbalance on club and festival lineups.

Coming in direct response to the controversy surrounding the 2018 lineup of Wireless – when the line up was originally revealed earlier in the year many highlighted the lack of women on the lineup – the festival continues to work towards diversity through campaigns such as Festival Republic’s ReBalance initiative and Live Nation’s Women Nation Fund.

Regardless of their continued efforts, the story proved to be a springboard for a vital discussion. Why should it be so hard to populate a festival lineup with women in Hip Hop, grime, and R&B? Why do we so rarely see women represented in black music on the highest level?

Julie Adenuga will host the Smirnoff House stage on the Sunday at this year’s Wireless Festival.

Supported by Wireless, Smirnoff Equalising Music is teaming up with Rinse FM, London’s pioneering underground music station, to show the way forward, bringing the scene’s foremost female talent to Wireless Festival 2018.

“Smirnoff set up Equalising in Music in 2017 because the music industry had been sidelining female talent for too long,” said Sam Salameh, Head of Smirnoff. “And we’re continuing to put our money where our mouth is. This is about giving under­represented talent a platform, inspiring the next generation of women headliners and influencing the industry to enable genuine, long­lasting change.

“This year at Wireless, we’re partnering with Rinse FM to curate our Smirnoff House lineup with the best in female talent to make a difference where it matters the most. Rinse FM helped create the genres that are thriving at Wireless and have many female success stories – some of which will be bringing the good times to the Smirnoff House.”

Sarah Lockhart of Rinse FM added: Since its pirate beginnings Rinse has been nurturing talent and pushing boundaries. Thanks in no small part to the likes of Julie Adenuga, Maya Jama and Emerald, female presenters have inspired and influenced our entire radio output. It’s fitting to be teaming up with Smirnoff Equalising Music and Wireless to celebrate a wealth of diverse female talent and promote a shift in urban culture”

Smirnoff, with support from Festival Republic and Rinse FM, will curate an all-female lineup for Smirnoff House.

The lineup for Smirnoff House at Wireless Festival 2018 is as follows:




Paigey Cakey

Shy One

Trillary Banks

Work It DJs



Alia Loren

Bad Gyal

Barely Legal



Tiffany Calver



Eliza Rose


Girls of Grime

Lady Leshurr


Quay Dash

For more information on Wireless Festival visit the official website here.