TRNSMT boss slammed for ‘females picking up guitars’ comments


The director of British festival TRNSMT is under fire for his explanation of why 11 of the first 13 artists announced for next year’s event are men. “It will be a while until there’s a 50/50 balance. That’s definitely several years ahead for any major festival to achieve because there’s far, far less female artists,” said Geoff Ellis earlier this week. “We need to get more females picking up guitars, forming bands, playing in bands.”

Given the controversy in 2018 when Recording Academy boss Neil Portnow called on women “to step up” if they wanted to be part of the music industry, it’s no surprise that Ellis’ comments are attracting similar criticism now. “If you are the organiser of something, and you don’t WANT a situation to change, and you put f**k all effort into it, then no s**t it’ll take years,” tweeted artist KT Tunstall. “So sweet you’re encouraging more females to pick up guitars, what a brilliant idea,” tweeted fellow artist Nadine Shah, deploying a series of flower emojis before: “GET TAE F**K!! I wouldn’t p**s on your shite festival.” Clash Magazine cited stats from Fender with its contribution: “50% of all new guitars are bought by women – the Scottish festival needs to do better”, while the Keychange initiative, which is helping festivals work towards 50/50 gender parity, noted that “We have many festivals & music orgs on our website who care about equality & are making positive change. We also have 60 amazing participants who took part in our development programme. Book them!”

Stuart Dredge

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