Women In Country Spotlight: Let Women Play

It’s hard to ignore. It’s really hard to ignore.

Festival announcements for 2024 have been rolling out for weeks. No surprise, they’re lacking any form of gender balance. They’re lacking.

Are they getting better?

Some are.

But “some” and “getting better” don’t excuse the fact that women are underrepresented across country music festivals in Canada.

RELATED: The DSPs and radio have a similar issue …

There is no shortage of qualified female talent to occupy slots on these festival rosters. It’s hard to justify the numbers. 

Taking A Look At Top Festivals In Canada

The six largest country music festivals across Canada collectively have announced 120 festival performance slots for 2024.

Of these 120 slots, 50 acts are women, duos who include a woman, or bands who have a core member that is a woman.

How many of these 50 women are headliners?


Seventeen headliners … zero women.

How many of these 50 women are direct support to headliners?


Seventeen direct support acts, two women. 

Where can we derive some hope here?

I want to think that giving equal emerging artist slots is a method for supporting the next generation of stars early in their career.

Are we working on it?

Does this mean that more emerging women now means more women headliners and direct support later? It may.

It may also be to fulfill the quota.

“For decades, most festival posters have adhered to a standard musical hierarchy – arranging artists in descending font-size order, based on popularity, allure, potential ticket revenue, and egos. While the presence of women on festival lineups has been on the rise, this growth has been primarily towards the bottom of the lineup billing.

Why is this important? Women artists deserve more than simply being an afterthought or fulfilling a quota. It’s crucial to provide them with equal representation and the recognition that most men are inherently granted in music.”

  • Amplify Her Voice via Instagram (September 2023)

How Do We Change The Status Quo?

It all comes back to the same thing. There are a few key players in positions with the ability to make change that don’t.

Whether it’s from pressure elsewhere or other reasons – they are gatekeepers. There are more layers to the limitation set upon women in this industry. It’s not one person, or one group. It’s an institution that has disadvantaged women for years.

So we keep reminding everyone that women are here – talented, capable women are here. 

And we celebrate those women who have broken through and are getting these wins. Rome wasn’t built in a day … or whatever. We just keep doing our part. We know we’re not asking for much, we just have to keep reminding everyone of that.

Additional Resources:

Book More Women
Women In Music Canada
Amplify Her Voice
She Is The Music

Jenna Weishar from Front Porch Music

Country music lover with an unhealthy collection of concert t-shirts. Always looking for up and coming artists. Believer in music's ability to soothe the soul. Connect with me on Instagram and Twitter.

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