If not quite causing dancing in the street there was much celebration around this week’s announcement for the annual Falls Festival in Lorne, Victoria; Marion Bay in Tassie; Byron Bay, NSW; and Fremantle, Western Australia, at the turn of the year, with a stellar bill that includes Liam Gallagher, Flume, Fleet Foxes, the Kooks, DD Dumbo, Peking Duk and Foster the People among the leading names.
The announcement on Tuesday did not pass without some comment on social media about the lack of women on the bill, an observation that has become louder in recent years and in recent weeks as local artists such as singer Ali Barter have bemoaned the lack of recognition for female musicians in the past as well as in the present. Ecca Vandal, Julia Jacklin and Alex Lahey are three of a handful of female acts mentioned in Falls’ first announcement, although there are many names to be added. The figure does pose a difficult question, however. Do festivals such as Falls, which by and large attract an even number of men and women, need to lift their quota of female acts to better represent the wealth of talented local and overseas female musicians, or should festivals be left to book the best line-up they can regardless of gender? In the wake of recent initiatives by industry body APRA/AMCOS and others to increase the number of females employed in the local music industry, perhaps it is time — subject to their availability, of course — for a greater showcasing of female talent at these mainstream and indie music gatherings.
Alex Lahey will play the Falls Festival