With such headliners as Jack White and the Chainsmokers, this year’s Bunbury lineup doesn’t lack star power. It’s also got fewer women than President Trump’s cabinet.
“It’s the ‘bro-iest’ of all the festivals I looked at this year,” says Pitchfork writer Rob Mitchum, who does analyses of music festival lineups. Bunbury 2018 features only two female artists, with six acts that include both men and women (see graphic for totals). That’s a slight increase from 2017 when there was just one woman and four mixed gender acts.
As with the general workplace, there’s only one real way to change that: hire more women.
“We’ve never sat down and said, ‘Oh, we’ve gotta have eight female artists,’” says Scott Stienecker, president of Bunbury’s Columbus-based parent company, PromoWest. “You can’t really force stuff into a festival, or you’re gonna way, way overpay.”
That means booking who’s already touring, who’s not already booked at nearby festivals, and perhaps most of all, what works for Bunbury aesthetically—alt rock, for lack of a better descriptor. While Bunbury 2017 was still about the bros, it also had a lot more EDM and hip-hop—and ticket sales were sluggish. 2018 is set to be the best-attended ever. “We’re crushing it this year,” Stienecker says.
Bunbury Music Festival, June 1–3, Sawyer Point and Yeatman’s Cove