beyoncé is the first solo female artist to headline coachella in 10 years
Kendrick Lamar and Radiohead also lead the just-announced 2017 lineup.
Music festival posters aren't exactly beacons of gender inclusivity, but Coachella has a particularly questionable history of favouring male artists (or male-led bands) for headlining positions. When the festival announced its 2016 lineup this time last year, led by Guns N' Roses, LCD Soundsystem, and Calvin Harris, it was both praised for including more women on the bill and condemned for not giving them top positions. In fact Björk has been the only female solo artist granted a headlining spot in Coachella's entire history — until now. The festival has just confirmed that Beyoncé will be headlining in 2017, along with Kendrick Lamar and Radiohead. All three artists were rumoured to be headlining the historically alt-rock festival behemoth late last year.
In a think piece for Billboard that followed the 2016 announcement, Chris Payne examined a few possible reasons for Coachella's overwhelming gender imbalance. Beyoncé was named along with Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Rihanna, and Nicki Minaj — "the A-list pop stars" — as a performer who easily draws festival-sized crowds to her own tours. (As we noted at the time, Taylor Swift's 1989 tour had raked in $250 million by time it wrapped in 2015. Still, it was argued that the top slots should be given to burgeoning superstars like Lorde or Lana Del Rey).
Seems like organisers have been paying attention on both counts. Lorde appears as a second-tier artist on the new announcement, while other exciting female artists like BANKS, Kehlani, and NAO are working their way up the ranks. We have a long way to go until total gender parity is achieved, but this is a pretty great start to 2017 so far. Check out the full lineup below.
Text Hannah Ongley
Image via Beyonce.com