KT Tunstall attacks TRNSMT boss for defence of festival's male-dominated bill

Rock star KT Tunstall has attacked the director of Scotland's biggest music festival for his defence of its male-dominated line-up.
KT Tunstall co-curated an all-women festival earlier this year.KT Tunstall co-curated an all-women festival earlier this year.
KT Tunstall co-curated an all-women festival earlier this year.

The Scottish singer-songwriter suggested organisers of Glasgow's TRNSMT event had made "**** all" effort into trying to ensure that women were given equal prominence to men in its programming.

She tweeted the festival in anger at festival director Geoff Ellis's insistence that there were not enough female artists performing at every level of the industry to allow TRNSMT to have a gender-balanced bill.

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Just two female artists - Rita Ora and Little Simz - were announced as part of the launch line-up of next year's TRNSMT, which will be headlined by Lewis Capaldi, Liam Gallagher and The Courteeners, who have all previously played the festival since its inception in 2017.

Ellis has sparked anger by insisting it will be several years before festivals are able to have gender-balanced line-ups, insisting: "We need to get more females picking up guitars, forming bands, playing in bands."

Critics have pointed out that major festivals like Primavera in Barcelona have managed to deliver gender-balanced festivals.

Tunstall also drew a comparison between TRNSMT and the Hebridean Celtic Festival in the Outer Hebrides, which she headlined this year, saying it had managed to have a 50/50 gender balanced line-up "for years."

She spoke out months after co-curating the UK's first all-female music festival, which was staged in Poole, Dorset.

After unveiling the first acts confirmed for TRNSMT 2020, Ellis said: "Obviously we would like to have more female artists in our line-up. There will be more to come – it won’t just be Rita Ora, who is already an arena-level artist and Little Simz, who definitely will be one in the future. We have a lot more to announce.

“But the problem that exists at the moment is that, proportionally to male artists, there is nowhere near as many female artists at each level."

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Women to get dedicated stage at TRNSMT Festival after gender balance controversy

Ellis insisted the festival was taking steps to "redress the balance" by launching a new all-women Queen Tut's Stage last year, which will be returning in 2020.

However Tunstall posted: "If you are the organiser of something, and you don’t WANT a situation to change, and you put **** all effort into it, then no shit it’ll take years.

"Another Scottish festival @hebcelt has been 50/50 gender balanced for years. I also read that #Primavera has had more women on the bill than men. It would be easier to respect your stance being “**** it, we prefer blokes”. At least it’s honest.

"And THANK YOU in advance to all the men calling bull**** on this; your voices are arguably more powerful than ours when it comes to changing this, as YOU, the primary demographic of male rock band fans, are who these guys are scared to ‘alienate’ ie lose your ticket money.

"'We’d LOVE there to be...” “we NEED to get more females..” Great. What are ‘WE’ actually doing about that? You run a large festival. It’s a crazy idea, but you could *actually* help."