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The Guardian have recently analysed the number of male and female performers at 12 UK festivals to discover the drastic difference between the two as men account for 86% of all performers.

This research was taken out as a result of the recent news that Florence and the Machine would replace Foo Fighters to headline the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury, making lead singer Florence Welch the only woman to headline since 1999. Across all 12 festivals, this means that 2,336 men will be performing, alongside only 270 women.

Reading and Leeds Festival promoter Melvin Benn, in response to the statistics, said “we don’t have a problem. We put on bands that people want to buy tickets to watch – so it’s the public that makes the decision about what bands play at festivals.” Economics applicants should consider the accuracy of this statement, and whether consumer goods available always reflect consumer needs. Applicants should think about this statement particularly in light of the knowledge that of the top selling acts across the world in the last five years, three were women – a much higher percentage than the 10 or so percent that are represented at festivals let alone at the top of the bill.

In Glastonbury in 2009, Lady Gaga was the year’s biggest-selling female artist and yet played an early evening set on a secondary stage, and Lana Del Rey had the world’s fifth biggest selling album in 2012 and played at 4pm, rather than the more coveted evening sets. So why does this happen? PPE applicants should read the Oxford Economics study Wish You Were Here, which reveals that music tourism has increased by a third in the past three years, and consider why festival line-ups haven’t changed their gender proportion in line with increased tourism and increase popularity of women in the charts.

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