MUSIC FESTIVALS’ GLARING WOMAN PROBLEM
How we counted music festivals’ female performers
To calculate the gender gap at large American music festivals, we tracked down the lineups of 11 music festivals (Bonnaroo, Coachella, Outside Lands, Lollapalooza, Electric Forest, Electric Zoo, Hangout, Governors Ball, Ultra, Firefly and Voodoo) going back to 2010, or, in cases where the festival didn’t begin until after 2010, the earliest year. We ended up with about 4,000 unique groups and solo artists at all music festivals included.
We broke down that list by five categories — single male artist, single female artist, all-male group, all-female group, and mixed-gender group — using a crowdsourcing site, and categorizing a few acts ourselves. This is where the methodology gets into a gray area. Gender isn’t always a straightforward determination of male or female, and some groups have changed members over the years. But, we tried to gather the information for every act for each year they performed from sources like their website or Facebook page, and barring that, interviews or articles about their work. If you see any miscategorized acts in the data, please let us know.
There were about 60 acts for which we could not determine a gender category or who did not fall into one of our categories, and those are marked “other/unknown” in our data set. Once we had a category for every act, we joined them back up with the festivals and years they performed, and from there, came up with percentages for each festival and category. The furthest back we had for every festival was 2012, so we limited our analysis to the last five years. One festival — Voodoo — had not yet released 2016 lineups by May 24, so we excluded it, which left us with 50 festivals (10, with five years of data each).