The 1975’s Matt Healy pledges to stop playing at festivals with gender imbalance

Matthew Healy from The 1975 performs on the main stage at the TRNSMT festival in Glasgow.
Matthew Healy from The 1975 performs on the main stage at the TRNSMT festival in Glasgow.

The 1975’s Matthew Healy has said he will no longer play at music festivals with a lack of female acts on the line-up.

The rocker made his pledge while responding to the backlash over the recently-announced Reading and Leeds bill, which is dominated by male acts.

Responding to the initial male-heavy line-up announcement – which lists Stormzy, Rage Against The Machine and Liam Gallagher as headliners – a journalist challenged Healy to make a pledge to only perform at festivals with a more balanced offering.

Replying to a tweet from Healy in which he said that “Rage is a dope booking”, The Guardian’s deputy music editor Laura Snapes said: “Rage would be a dope booking if they used their leverage to demand equality on the bill.

“Any act with power that isn’t doing that, yet is speaking out against inequality, is failing to understand the game-changing role they could play in this situation.”

She added: “do it MH, add a condition to your rider that says you’ll only play festivals that commit to X% (ideally 50%!) acts that include women and non binary performers.”

Healy replied: “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 artist can be true allies.”

In a follow-up tweet, he said that he was sure his agents “are having kittens right now but times up man people need to act and not chat thanks for the kick up the arse snapes you’re making a difference”.

He added: “Point is that Reading and Leeds with more women would be honestly the best festival in the world that place is vibeyyy.

“Let’s not judge people and give the benefit of the doubt that people are going to start to listening. I can feel the change !!”

The 1975 will host a special one-off music event at London’s Finsbury Park this July.

Five of the seven acts that have been confirmed so far are female solo artists, and one is a mixed band.

The Brit Award-winning were headliners at Reading and Leeds in 2019.

BBC DJ Annie Mac was among those criticising the Reading and Leeds line-up.

She tweeted: “Feeling so disheartened about this Reading and Leeds line up. At the blatant lack of want to represent women.

“For all the 16 year old girls going to their first festival at Reading and Leeds 2020. Just know that you DO belong on those stages.”

Following Healy’s pledge, Mac shared his message and said: “Take note male artists who are headlining stages across festivals this Summer.”

Musician Rebecca Lucy Taylor, otherwise known as Self Esteem, tweeted “Lord give me strength” along with a mock-up of the Reading and Leeds line-up with all the male artists removed.

Just 20 female acts appeared to be left out of the 91 acts that have so far been announced.

“Men on this bill need to f***ing pipe up,” she added in another tweet.

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