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Report highlights gender split for ’23 fest season

A study by music industry directory ROSTR and IQ has broken down the lineups of 50 European festivals to explore trends around gender splits, headliner longevity and agency representation.

The full analysis appears in issue 122 of IQ, which is out now. Among its key findings, the report revealed that 64% of all solo acts during the 2023 season were male, 35% female, and 1% non-binary (the figures do not account for band members in groups).

The misbalance of genders across European festivals becomes more pronounced when looking purely at headliners. Overall, 69% of solo headline acts were men, along with 94% of individuals in headline bands.

In total, 90% of the performers that were onstage for a headline performance were male, although several A-list female artists have moved beyond festival stages in recent years to perform at stadiums.

Elsewhere, it was found that the average age of headliners at European festivals this year is 43, with a 58-year age span between the youngest headliner (Billie Eilish, 21), and the oldest (The Who, group age of 79).

While headliners aged between 20 and 40 account for nearly half of all headliners booked, the median age of headlining acts (40) is largely dominated by Gen X musicians.

“It’s reassuring to learn that across the continent of Europe, at least a quarter of all headliners this year are – relatively speaking – new to the big stage”

The results illustrate a broad talent pipeline, with 26% of all headliners active for ten years or less and 53% of headliners active for 20 years or less.

“It’s reassuring to learn that across the continent of Europe, at least a quarter of all headliners this year are – relatively speaking – new to the big stage or have been active for ten years or less,” says music business economist Will Page. “It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock and roll, but this data shows you can get there – within a decade at least.”

In addition, the report showed that Wasserman Music booked the most artists across Europe’s 2023 festival summer and CAA booked the most headliners.

A total of 4,700 artists took to stages across the 50 festivals, with the majority of artists represented by 34 agencies and Wasserman Music, UTA, CAA and WME occupying the top four slots. The same four agencies booked 60% of all headline performances.

You can read the digital edition of IQ 122 here.

ROSTR – a music industry directory, contacts, data and jobs platform – holds artist rosters, people, and company in formation for around 10,000 companies worldwide.


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