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Wireless Festival is For Teens (But Apparently Not For Women!)

With headliners Chance the Rapper, Skepta and The Weeknd, so far the festival has only announced five acts that include women.
Lauren O'Neill
London, GB

Wireless Festival, which this year will take place over the weekend of 7 to 9 July at north London's Finsbury Park, is now a festival for the #teens. Booking the best that US hip-hop has to offer, supported by smaller, UK acts (this year the big name is Skepta, who headlines alongside Chance the Rapper and The Weeknd), it appeals to a #young #cool demographic that is usually made up of people in sixth form who are overactive on Snapchat.


However, what Wireless is not, apparently, is a festival for women. Following the controversy that plagued this year's Reading Festival announcement, where just one woman was included on the bill, it doesn't appear that Wireless have done too much better. Over three days, just five women (Zara Larsson, Noname, The Age of L.U.N.A. – which has one female member, Daniella Thomas – Stefflon Don and Yuna) will perform onstage as the early release lineup stands.

Not only is this disappointing for the legions of female fans who will attend the festival and hope to see themselves represented; it's also significant of a wider problem in hip-hop whereby women are compared with each other (and, indeed, compared with Nicki Minaj, because there can only be one "big" female hip-hop star) and forced to compete for spaces on male-dominated bills. There seems to be the sense that there's only room for one or two women at a time, at the very apex of the game – and if more than one makes it there, she'll have to deal with her apparent rival's name being pulled up constantly in interviews, with the stage set for some sort of imagined catfight.

There is some hope left for Wireless, though: the lineup promises more to be announced, with as yet unknown special guests due to perform on Friday and Saturday. This could all turn around, but is symptomatic of an issue we see across festival lineups in both hip-hop and rock. Let's hope we'll get to the stage where people who represent one half of the population will play in numbers that reflect that.

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(Image via Wikimedia Commons)