Feb 8, 2011 5
It was watching Rammstein’s lead singer, Till Lindemann, ride a giant penis cannon across the stage that got me thinking. I’d spent the day wandering around the Perth show of Australia’s biggest music festival, the Big Day Out, and as I watched Lindemann frolic on the cannon, spraying the joyful crowd with foam, it occurred to me that I’d seen an awful lot of cock.*
Now I’m a reasonably well-read woman and I’ve spent enough of my time around activists and feminist historians to know the deal. Structural oppression making it tough for women to ascend the slippery ladder of rock music fame, complex economic and historical issues, blah blah blah. I appreciate that there’s a wider context, and sure, it takes a little more effort to find and book bands with female musicians, and I understand tour promoters are in this game to make money. I get this; I really do.**
But was it possible that, during a whole day at the country’s biggest festival, there hadn’t been one female musician on either of the main stages? As a curious data analyst I decided to find out more, and pulled together a spreadsheet with every act and every individual musician performing at the Perth 2011 Big Day Out. You may draw your own conclusions:
Five minutes on the Googletubes indicates that The New Pornographers, Rasputina, The Firey Furnaces, Portishead, Shonen Knife, Skunk Anansie, Amanda Palmer, Florence and the Machine, The Postal Service, Goldfrapp, The Breeders, Le Tigre, Belle & Sebastian, God Speed You! Black Emperor,Juliana Hatfield, P.J. Harvey, Morcheeba, Okkervil River, Regina Spektor, Silversun Pickups, Architecture in Helsinki, Broken Social Scene, The Magnetic Fields, of Montreal, Tender Trap, Tegan and Sara, Jebediah, Moriarty, New Rules For Boats, Schvendes, Cat Power, The Jezabels, Sneaky Sound System, Sparkadia, The Arcade Fire, Paramore, Ladyhawke, Tori Amos, Lacuna Coil and Beth Orton weren’t home to take the Big Day Out promoters’ call.
(See, I can do half-arsed research and find bands with women in them. I’m sure the people who are paid to do this stuff could do the same. It’s not that hard.)
* That said, anyone walking into a Die Antwoord show should expect cock.
** I also get that we’re not likely to see a sharp increase of women in rock, punk or metal until we promoters book more female role-models on the big festival stages, but that deserves its own rant.