Gender Trouble

We Broke Down Splendour 2018's Lineup Diversity

By the numbers, here's how many men, women, non-binary people and people of colour are playing Splendour in the Grass 2018.

Shaad  D’Souza

Shaad D’Souza

After recent controversy surrounding gender and cultural diversity of the Falls Festival lineup––there were only nine women on the first announcement––punters are watching festivals closely for their representation. Splendour's lineup dropped today, featuring Kendrick Lamar, Lorde and Vampire Weekend, and while it's got some killer bookings, there's still question as to whether it's adequately representing artists from marginalised communities. Noisey has crunched the numbers on the 2018 Splendour in the Grass lineup, accounting for gender representation and representation of people of colour. Let's get into it, shall we?

Performer-by-Performer Gender Breakdown

There are 101 artists playing Splendour in the Grass 2018, totalling 205 performers (that's the sum of all the members of each band/solo artist/duo/whatever.) Of those performers, 155 are male and 50 are female or non-binary, meaning that 24.4 percent of performers on this year's lineup aren't male, while 75.6 percent are. This is a slight (2 percent) improvement on last year's lineup, which featured 202 performers, 165 (77.6%) of which were male and 37 (22.4 percent) of which were female.

Shaad D'Souza/NOISEY

Artist-by-Artist Gender Breakdown

When we group the above figure into an artist-by-artist breakdown––so, how many artists feature at least one female or non-binary member vs how many artists are all-male––the stats look a little kinder. With these metrics, 42.6 percent of the lineup has some kind of non-male representation. This is the most common methodology for breaking down gender diversity on lineups, and while it's the most generous way of looking at diversity, it's also somewhat deceiving; 15.8 percent of artists may be mixed gender, but that could be a ten-person band with one woman in it –– still valid, for sure, but also something of a skewed metric. You'd be kidding yourself, for example, to book a ten-person/one-woman artist as a headliner and call them a 'female headliner'. 42.6 percent is a marked improvement on Splendours past; according to Hack's annual lineup breakdown, Splendour has been hovering around the 30 percent mark for the past three years.

Shaad D'Souza/NOISEY

Performer-by-Performer Cultural Diversity Breakdown

When we get to the cultural diversity breakdown––the amount of people of colour––things get more dire. There are 25 artists of colour on the lineup, including 16 men of colour and only nine women of colour, which accounts for just over 12 percent of the bill. You have to scroll down to the sixth line of the lineup to see the highest billed woman of colour, Sampa the Great. This breakdown is a slight––and that's very, very slight––improvement on last year's lineup, which only included 11 percent people of colour, according to Pilerats' breakdown.

Shaad D'Souza/NOISEY

Artist-by-Artist Cultural Diversity Breakdown

When broken down into an artist-by-artist metric, it appears that most of the people of colour on the lineup are solo artists; unsurprising, given that most of the people of colour on the bill are rappers. Around 11 percent of artists on the lineup are PoC solo artists and just under nine percent are groups with at least one person of colour. This is an improvement over Splendour 2017, which had eight percent PoC solo artists and three percent mixed acts featuring PoC.

Shaad D'Souza/NOISEY

What Does It All Mean?

In all, Splendour's done a slightly (slightly) better job of representation than it has in previous years. At the end of the day, though, there's still work to do: with less than a quarter of all performing artists being female or non-binary, little-to-no trans representation and marginal representation of people of colour, Splendour (and nearly all festivals, for that matter) still need to work on booking women and minorities. Tell me something I don't know.

Notes on methodology: Musicians such as Alex Lahey and Jack River, who are solo artists but perform with bands, were counted as solo artists for the sake of this piece. Best efforts were made to properly account for all genders represented on the Splendour lineup. Thanks to Pilerats' Hayden Davies for his statistics on Splendour 2017.

Shaad D'Souza is Noisey's Australian Editor. Follow him on Twitter.