Women of T in the Park
Number of women in this year’s T line-up is rather on the slim side. Fiona Shepherd finds they’re still worth celebrating, now more than ever
As mainstream festival bills become more conservative, the relative lack of female musicians playing in a field near you has not gone unnoticed. The point was made simply and eloquently last year by music blogger Joe Dalton who airbrushed all the male artist names out of the poster for the Reading and Leeds festivals to highlight the shockingly bare representation of women. The number didn’t even stretch to double figures, the ‘wisdom’ being that guys with guitars and superstar DJs are the default soundtrack for many commercial festivals.
Had Dalton photoshopped last year’s T in the Park bill, the situation would not have looked so desperate. Given the strong pop slant of the line-up in recent years, there were relatively diverse riches in the shape of Jessie J, Paloma Faith, Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes and Annie Mac all commanding the main stage, and the likes of Charli XCX, Marina & the Diamonds, St Vincent, Wolf Alice, Jessie Ware, Maya Jane CColes Bdy_Prts and Kitty, Daisy & Lewis elsewhere on the bill.
Arguably, a festival bill can be anything the organisers want it to be and all the better if they’re prepared to make bold curatorial choices. But even an established festival such as T can’t afford to take sales for granted; and certainly not after the decidedly bumpy transition to Strathallan.
This year, although the representation of female artists is not quite as rosy, we wanted to make some noise for the women of T, doing what they do and leading by example. Jess Glynne (Clean Bandit guest vocalist turned solo star) heads the modest charge of pop singers, alongside a couple of up-and-coming names. With the sultry Portishead-sampling single 'Here' as her calling card, Canadian singer-songwriter Alessia Cara was BBC Sound of 2016 runner-up; Dua Lipa (daughter of a Kosovan rock star) was also in contention for the same prize, while Josephine Vander Gucht is the Ellie Goulding-esque voice of electro-pop duo Oh Wonder.
Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac returns to T, having brought the party to the main stage and Slam Tent last year. Also on the dance front, Sister Bliss will be presiding over another epic Faithless set while a number of rising DJs hit the decks, including Hannah Wants, best known for her lean techno hit 'Rhymes'; B Traits, aka Canadian producer / remixer Brianna Price, familiar from her Radio 1 broadcasts and house banger 'Fever', and Nina Kraviz, a trained dentist from Siberia who brings her DJing and deep-house production skills to the Slam Tent.
Rock chicks are in thinner supply, though Lothian hard-rock trio the Amorettes, invoking the spirit of the Runaways, should make enough noise to compensate. However, the most rocking girl on the bill has to be the extraordinary acoustic guitarist Gabriela Quintero of Mexican duo Rodrigo y Gabriela, who has consistently proven that you can whip up a strumming storm without any of those tiresome guitar wank clichés. As fellow T veterans Little Mix would say, salute!
T in the Park is at Strathallan Castle, Fri 8–Sun 10 Jul.