A quick glance at the bands that have been announced for Warped’s 2014 tour, which started June 11 in Anchorage, Alaska, reveals that less than 20 percent of the 120-plus acts include at least one female. Women are there — the line-up includes Mixtapes, Sleeper Agent, the Summer Set, K.Flay and Allison Weiss — but if you count the female population of the bands on an individual level, women make up only 6 percent of the tour.
Summer festivals in the general sense aren’t much better — both the Fest in Gainsville and Riot Fest Chicago hold steady around 15 percent based on the bands that have been announced at press time.
As a woman and a fan of punk rock, I’m angry and disheartened. I grew up listening to hardcore and pop-punk and I know what a boys’ club it can be. I’m used to being in the minority at shows, having to deal with guys who think they need to protect me in the mosh pit. But that was 15 years ago, and still the culture has not evolved. Part of that could be because Kevin Lyman, founder and producer of the Warped Tour, doesn’t think there’s a problem.
“There’s really not a lack of women,” he says, interrupting me before I’ve finished asking the first question. “If you’ve got 20 bands that have women in them out of 120 bands, that’s one out of six bands.”
“You think that’s OK?” I ask, surprised that he would be so comfortable with such a one-sided ratio.
“That’s absolutely OK,” he says.
But it’s not. It’s not OK for Warped or the Fest, and it’s not OK that Alternative Press, a monthly music magazine that sponsors the Warped Tour, has only put a woman on its cover five times in the last three years — and twice it was Hayley Williams from Paramore.