Reading and Leeds festivals fail to book female headliner for seventh year running

Event has been criticised a number of times in the past for lineups skewed heavily towards male artists

Roisin O'Connor
Tuesday 01 September 2020 09:52
Hayley Williams of the band Paramore, who co-headlined Reading & Leeds festivals in 2014
Hayley Williams of the band Paramore, who co-headlined Reading & Leeds festivals in 2014

The Reading and Leeds festival lineup for 2021 shows that organisers have failed to book a female headliner for the seventh consecutive year.

The event, which has long been criticised for billings that are skewed towards male artists and male-fronted bands, has added three headline slots – totalling six – and a second “main stage”.

These are being filled by Stormzy, Liam Gallagher, Disclosure, Queens of the Stone Age, Catfish and the Bottlemen, and Post Malone.

Next year will mark the third time that US rapper Post Malone has performed on the main stage, after his spot ahead of headliners Fall Out Boy and Travis Scott in 2018, and a headline slot in 2019.

The last time a female headliner appeared at Reading and Leeds was Paramore in 2014, on a co-headline slot with Queens of the Stone Age.

With the exception of Arcade Fire (who are co-fronted by singers Win Butler and Régine Chassagne), Paramore are the only female-fronted act to have headlined Reading and Leeds in more than two decades.

The 2020 lineup featured headliners Stormzy, Rage Against the Machine, and Liam Gallagher. Rage Against the Machine will not perform at next year’s event.

The Independent has contacted representatives for Reading and Leeds for comment.

Other artists announced to perform at Reading and Leeds in 2021 include AJ Tracey, Lewis Capaldi, Ashnikko, Two Door Cinema Club, Beadadoobee, DaBaby, Doja Cat, Mabel, Madison Beer and Sofi Tukker.

Tickets for the event go on sale on 3 September.

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