Image Source: Getty / Wireimage / Pablo Gallardo / Amy Sussman
Glastonbury Festival is known for celebrating the top music artists in the world, but if the 2023 lineup is anything to go by, women are not amongst them. On 3 March, the three headliners were announced: Arctic Monkeys on Friday, Guns N'Roses on Saturday, and Elton John to close the festival on Sunday.
Co-organiser Emily Eavis addressed the lack of women headliners, telling The Guardian it is owing to a "pipeline" problem in the industry. Guns N'Roses were also reportedly booked when a previously confirmed woman headliner pulled out due to a change in touring plans. Eavis didn't name the artist, but it is widely thought to be Taylor Swift who was supposed to headline Glastonbury 2020 before the Covid pandemic caused the festival to be cancelled. She will now be on her "Eras" tour over Glastonbury weekend.
The full lineup also includes Lizzo, Lana Del Rey, Lil Nas X, Fred Again, and Cat Burns. The coveted "legends slot" which takes place on Sunday afternoon features a double slot this year, with singer Cat Stevens taking to the Pyramid stage, followed by Blondie. The lineup currently includes 53 percent male artists and 43 percent non-white artists, although there are more to be announced. Eavis added that she is "entirely focused on balancing our bill. It's not just about gender, it's about every aspect of diversity."
This is just the latest event of the year to have been called out for its lack of representation. The 2023 Brit Awards came under fire for failing to nominate any woman acts in the artist of the year category; a misfire that Harry Styles called out in his acceptance speech. Just a week later, the BAFTAs was criticised as there was not one person of colour who won an award across all of the categories.
Fans took to social media to express their disappointment at the lack of diversity with the headliners. Singer Self Esteem tweeted: "I have nothing to say about festival line ups for the rest of my life. Or awards. You only get a finite amount of life in which to say the same thing over and over and I like to do that in the songs."
This marks the third time the Arctic Monkeys have headlined Glastonbury, having previously hit the prestigious Pyramid stage in 2007 and 2013. While the rock band might be pros at the summer event, it will shockingly be Elton John's first time performing at the festival. "It gives me enormous pleasure to let you know that the one and only Elton John will be making his first ever Glastonbury appearance, headlining the Pyramid stage on the Sunday night next year," Eavis tweeted of the announcement on 2 Dec. "This will be the final UK show of Elton's last ever tour, so we will be closing the Festival and marking this huge moment in both of our histories with the mother of all send offs. We are so happy to finally bring the Rocket Man to Worthy Farm!"
The news that John will perform on 25 June 2023 comes after the singer teased fans on Instagram that he had one more date to announce on his "Farewell Yellow Brick Road" tour, which he vowed would be his last shows before he retires from performing live.
Glasonbury 2022 saw Kendrick Lamar, Billie Eilish, who made history as the youngest solo headliner, and Paul McCartney top the bill on the Pyramid stage. Glastonbury 2023 will take place from 21 June - 25 June and, as always, is still set to be the highlight of summer.