June 28, 2018 / 4:35 PM / in 9 months

Women rule own stage at UK music festival after lineup controversy

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - One of Britain’s biggest music festivals unveiled an all-female stage on Thursday after being criticized by chart-topping singer Lily Allen for only having three female acts out of a line-up of about 40.

Wireless Festival said it was setting up a third stage at the annual event in London’s Finsbury Park running from July 6 - 8 which would feature all female artists.

The move came after Allen in January this year posted an image of the Wireless line-up showing just three female acts, commenting: “The struggle is real”.

Organisers of the new stage, including radio station Rinse FM and Diageo vodka Smirnoff, said female talent had been sidelined for too long.

“This is about giving under-represented talent a platform, inspiring the next generation of women headliners and influencing the industry to enable genuine, long-lasting change,” the organizers said in a statement.

Female Pressure, an international network of female and transgender artists, said a study of festival line-ups across Britain and Europe found women only accounted for 19 percent of festival headliners in 2017.

Headline acts at Wireless, which is attended by about 50,000 people, include rappers J.Cole, Stormzy and DJ Khaled.

The female stage will be hosted by radio DJs Julie Adenuga and Emerald and feature up-and-coming artists including Lady Leshurr, Quay Dash, Bad Gyal, Paigey Cakey, and Barely Legal.

Outdoor music festivals have become increasingly popular in Britain with UK Music, an industry-funded body, saying the number of people attending festivals rose about 45 percent to 3.9 million in 2016 from a year earlier.

Reporting by Emilio Nelson, Editing by Belinda Goldsmith @BeeGoldsmith; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit news.trust.org

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