Festival Republic's Melvin Benn has disputed the idea that female artists are sidelined at music festivals, insisting, "There's an abundance of opportunity now."
Research published by the Telegraph last year suggested that women continue to be under-represented at UK festivals. At Reading & Leeds for example, which Festival Republic organise, 55.81% of the line-up were all-male bands, 24.41% male solo artists, and 0.56% all-female bands.
Speaking to Gigwise after being presented his Lifetime Achievement Award at this year's European Festival Awards, Benn said, "The idea that female bands are sidelined as a suggestion is just not there. The truth is that there has been an historic lack of opportunity for young women to get into bands and to be in bands, and I think that has disappeared now."
Benn added, "I don't think there's any young women thinking of joining a band now that think, 'There's no point, because I'm going to be sidelined'. I don't think sidelining exists, but there was certainly lack of opportunity. But there's an abundance of opportunity now. The truth is it will just get stronger and stronger, it will grow and grow the amount of female bands that are there.
"For me it's never been about the gender of the band, it's been about the quality of the band, and I think increasingly female bands, female-fronted bands, entirely female bands, mixed bands... they're just forever on the increase now, and gone are the days where a band was four guys. That's gone now. It's genuinely gone."
The headliners for this year's Reading & Leeds Festivals will be announced on 2 February.