Well, this is a telling story, isn’t it? Last year, festivals and clubland went into an enforced hiatus – and since there were no nights out to talk about, discussion eventually turned to the state of the scene. It didn’t take long for people to realise how much of dance music is dominated by rich white men.
Cue immediate pledges to start doing something about it. Hence all the talk last year about having more black men at events. More black women, heck, more women full stop. What nobody in the industry appears to have anticipated – which makes you realise many of the people in charge are essentially morons – is that the rich white men might have something to say about it.
Once they – or more specifically, their networks – made clear that wasn’t going to happen, citing contracts signed pre-pandemic, things basically went back to the way they’d been for many years. And the festivals have been happy to go along with it, knowing the current awkward truth is these rich white men they book are paying their bills – especially when most of the festivals themselves are destitute.
And this is how we ended up with the Isle of Wight Festival for next year having a lineup consisting almost entirely of men…
2022 Headliners & more announced for @cinchuk presents the Isle of Wight Festival! @LewisCapaldi – @LionelRichie – @KasabianHQ – @petetong presents Ibiza Classics – @muse and many others play: https://t.co/YY8aDhAC8o #IOW2022 #cinchxIOW pic.twitter.com/jJwgaa7mBL— Isle of Wight Fest (@IsleOfWightFest) September 27, 2021
Who’d have thought that dismantling an old boy network of rich white men would involve more than spouting a few slogans and niceties on social media, eh? As it stands, going woke – even though it’s clearly the right thing to do – will mean going broke. And if they go broke, they’ll never be able to go woke – because they’ll no longer exist.
The rich white men know this, hence why they’re flexing their muscles now. Which puts the festivals of appearing more akin to the “Women Know Your Limits” sketch that Harry Enfield did in the 90s..