Glastonbury Festival 2023 announces all-white, all-male headliners – and fans are furious

Collage of Elton, Alex Turner from the Arctic Monkeys and Axl Rose from Guns N Roses

Glastonbury Festival has announced the headliners for its 2023 line-up; but fans are enraged that all three slots are comprised of white, male artists, with organiser Emily Eavis calling the issue a ‘pipeline problem’.

Guns N’ Roses and the Alex Turner-fronted Arctic Monkeys were announced today (3 March) as the ‘final two headliners’ for the Saturday night and Friday night slots on the Pyramid Stage; Glastonbury’s most iconic stage.

They join Elton John, who was previously announced as the show’s closing headliner on Sunday night.

Some fans have reacted with outrage at all three of the top-billed slots at Glastonbury 2023 are filled with white, male artists, when previous headliners have included performers like Beyoncé, Adele, Kendrick Lamar, Stormzy and more.

One has called the line-up a “direct symptom of industry failures to support female artists”, and another added that since 2010, only four of the 30 headliners have been women, with Florence and the Machine and Billie Eilish joining Adele and Beyoncé

One particularly sarcastic/iconic Twitter user even wrote: “Good thing no women make music or it would be embarrassing to have a full set of male headliners wouldn’t it!”

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Emily Eavis, co-organiser of the annual Glastonbury Festival, released a statement to The Guardian, seemingly pre-empting the backlash:

“The music industry needs to invest in more female musicians to create future headliners,” she said. “We’re trying our best so the pipeline needs to be developed. This starts way back with the record companies, radio. I can shout as loud as I like but we need to get everyone on board.”

Lizzo, despite having ‘joint headline’ billing, will open for Guns N’ Roses at Glastonbury Festival 2023, regardless of Eavis’s admission that “she could totally headline”.

According to the Guardian, the line-up was shifted around last-minute after a female artist “changed her touring plans” – many fans had hoped for Taylor Swift to headline after her 2020 headline slot was cancelled due to COVID.

Eavis said that she hopes the artist will headline “within the next five years”; Swift’s subsequently announced Eras Tour bulldozed any chances of that happening at Glastonbury Festival 2023.

Despite this, fans have pointed out that although the headliners are all white men, the rest of the line-up includes decent levels of diversity, though have simultaneously noted that Lana Del Rey, Lizzo or Lil Nas X could have easily filled a headline slot.

Other commentators have taken particular umbrage with the announcement of rock band Guns N’ Roses’s headline slot for Glastonbury Festival 2023, seemingly due to previous poor experiences with the group.

“Every time I’ve seen Guns N’ Roses they have been about 3-5 business days late on stage and then Axl just screeched for 30 mins and left,” one wrote.

Fans had previously speculated that Harry Styles could be headlining, and that the Spice Girls would fill the ‘Legends Slot’ on the festival’s final day.

Many more acts are yet to be announced for Glastonbury Festival 2023.