Heavy Montreal is Heavy on Sexism
Only 2 out of 36 bands featured in the Heavy Montreal festival lineup have women in them. Only one is a female-fronted band. Inspired by a project that erased the names of all-male bands from festivals posters, here’s what Heavy Montreal looks like minus the sausage party:
The lack of female representation at major music fests like Heavy Montreal is astounding, but also common. The LA Times reports that Coachella — which attracts over 90k patrons — had no female headliners in 2016. None. In fact, since the festival’s inception in 1999, Coachella has only ever had 1 female headliner, Bjork, and that was over 10 years ago.
One argument that’s often used to defend sexist booking practices in the festival industry is that there simply aren’t enough female bands with decent followings who could generate ticket sales for the event. False. In the case of Heavy Montreal, 73% of the all-male line-up have Facebook fanbases ranging from 16k to 1.9 million. Here is a list of 10 female-fronted heavy metal bands that fit that range and smash it:
- Epica: 2.3 million
- Halestorm: 1.2 million
- In This Moment: 1.3 million
- New Years Day: 500k
- The Agonist: 459k
- Butcher Babies: 280k
- Amaranthe: 269k
- Delain: 251k
- Stitched-Up Heart: 179k
- Kobra and the Lotus: 121k
There are hundreds more.
“But what if these female metal bands weren’t available?” some will whine. Here’s a genius idea: keep searching until you find some that are. The fact that a booker only cares enough about diversity to spend 15 minutes researching female acts, and then gives up when it gets a little hard, is precisely the root of the problem. Bottom line: If you want to make diversity a priority, you do the work needed to make it a f’n priority. Period.
Another argument is that female-fronted metal may not be “hardcore enough” for Heavy Montreal which boasts Grindcore outfits such as Napalm Death and Carcass. And while it may be true that a smaller percentage of women write classics such as “Vomited Anal Tract” or “Maggot Colony”, Heavy Montreal aren’t exactly purists, they also have Breaking Benjamin headlining, which is about as brutal as Justin Bieber throwing a hissy fit on slow-release Adderal.
When white males represent 94% of your lineup, its not just sexist, it’s stupid. In a time where the best comedians in happen to have vaginas, Hillary is up for the presidency, and the biggest shows on network television are female-centric — Heavy Montreal is a smegmatic example of an antiquated mentality that’s growing more flaccid by the second. Granted, it’s a free market, and you can create a festival featuring whomever you gaddam please. But if all you want feature is white dudes, don’t call it “Heavy”, call it “Nardpolooza”. Because the only thing that’s heavy about this fest is the sexism.
Let Heavy Montreal know what you think about their peentastic lineup.
Nadia G is a currently producing the first ever comedy rockumentary about Grrrl band. She also created Riot Grill: an all-femme comedy, food, and hardcore festival in Los Angeles. She publicly reams misogynists in her free time, and sings in a punk band The Menstruators. You can watch her get heavy here: