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TRNSMT organiser Geoff Ellis says industry and fans need to address lack of female artists in festival line-ups

© Wattie CheungGeoff Ellis, TRNSMT organiser
Geoff Ellis, TRNSMT organiser

TRNSMT organiser Geoff Ellis says he’s delighted to finally let fans see who’s playing this year’s festival, but admits he’d love to see more female acts on the bill in future.

The line-up for the Glasgow music weekender was launched today, with the likes of Stormzy, Catfish & The Bottlemen, George Ezra and Snow Patrol taking centre stage.

Among the male-dominated line-up for the main stage are just three female acts – Sigrid, Mabel and Jess Glynne – with several others on the King Tut’s second stage.

Speaking to The Sunday Post ahead of the unveiling of this year’s bill, Ellis said it was the responsibility of the industry and fans alike to ensure future festivals  – TRNSMT included – have more female headliners.

“Like any year and all festivals I think we’d all love to have more female artists on the bill,” he said. “We’ve got to help develop female artists to get to that level.

“We’ve got Sigrid this year who we had on the King Tut’s stage last year and she’s on a strong upward trajectory so it’s great to have her on the main stage this year.

© Alice Hadden for TRNSMT
Sigrid will play the main stage this year

“Jess Glynne sold out the Hydro recently, and she’s a very big artist on the bill. There’s Mabel too, so we do have females on the bill, but we’d like more and that’s really a process over time.”

Ellis points to DF Concerts’ other summer events including the Edinburgh Summer Sessions, which sees Florence and the Machine and CHVRCHES among the line-up.

“Sometimes it’s about timing,” he said. “We’d love to have Florence at TRNSMT one year but this year it’s August and she’s doing Edinburgh.

“We’re not overlooking people. We’ve got Jade Bird on the King Tut’s stage, she’s going to be a future main stage artist I’m sure, and there’s people like Catherine McGrath, Mahalia too.

“If you look at most festivals around the world there will be male-dominated lineups  because there are more male artists than female artists – that’s just a fact – and it’s something we have to try to address as both an industry and as fans.

“Fans have to support the female artists to help them get bigger so they can headline festivals in the future. We’re certainly open to that but it’s not going to happen overnight.”

© Ian West/PA Wire
Jess Glynne

There was a festival first this year as the announcement of the line-up was given over to the fans.

A live Facebook video gave music lovers the chance to test their knowledge with a selection of clues to the names appearing on this year’s bill.

“The fans are the most important element of TRNSMT,” Ellis says.

“With no fans there’s no festival but also the atmosphere they create is what makes TRNSMT so unique, so why not let them have that engagement and have a bit of fun with it?

“We felt if would be a nice thing to do to put it into the hands of the fans and make them feel very involved at the heart of the festival.”

The make-up of the audience is also key for consideration at the festival, with the range of headline acts over the festival’s three years showing there’s something for everyone.

Ellis says: “It’s a challenge every year to book a line-up and you can’t be complacent. You’ve got to try to reflect what’s going on from what’s available and what your audience will be.

“This will be our third year and I think the audience makeup isn’t set in stone, it will change each year.

“We had Radiohead in the first year, Queen + Adam Lambert last year and we’ve got Stormzy this year – three very different artists with different demographics.”

© Andrew Milligan / PA Wire
Revellers at last year’s festival

The location of the festival has also proved important to its continuing success.

“I think what people have enjoyed about TRNSMT is the fact that you can just go for a day and have a great day out and it’s very easy to get to and from,” Ellis says.

“Those travelling from further afield and staying in a hotel can go back to a late bar or club after TRNSMT all within walking distance. 99% of those who travelled in thought Glasgow was amazing and had a great time.

“It’s great for the city and the economic impact is huge, both the tangible amount and the intangible, where people go away and talk positively about the city, influencing people to come and visit.”

TRNSMT tickets are on sale from Friday February 22 from