Music

15 female festival headliners who rocked the hardest

There’s no shortage of influential female figures in the music industry (we’re looking at you, Taylor Swift) but the shortage of women topping major festival bills shouldn’t be overlooked.

With Florence & The Machine’s Glastonbury headline billing finally shaking up the conversation, we’ve been digging through the line-up archives to remember the other female musicians that have proved women rock just as hard at the top.

1. Björk – Reading Festival, 1995

The iconic singer-songwriter was no stranger to headlining the big stages and her performance at Reading in 1995 is marked firmly in the history books.

2. Azealia Banks – Lovebox, 2013

In its short history, Lovebox haven’t shied away putting women at the top of their London line-ups. Take note, major festivals.

3. Lily Allen – Latitude, 2014

The Brit songstress received her share of criticism when she replaced Two Door Cinema Club as headliners at Latitude 2014. True to form, she stuck to her guns and emerged triumphant after a set that went a little like this…

4. Beyoncé – Glastonbury Festival, 2011

It’s been four years since Beyoncé proved sequins, a massive stage show and dance routines CAN work at a festival that’s better known for its mud pits than its costume changes.

5. Paramore – Reading and Leeds, 2014

When the power cut on Paramore’s co-headline spot at Reading, Hayley Williams led her trio to an acoustic take on The Only Exception that was simply unforgettable.

6. Dido – V Festival, 2004

Without huge production or fuss, Dido relied on her big old bag of unforgettable hits to headline V Festival in 2004.

7. Garbage – Reading Festival, 1998

In 1998, it was Shirley Manson and co’s billing at the top of Reading Festival that had young girls everyone wanting to grow up and be a rockstar. Well, we still do…

8. Nightwish – Bloodstock, 2008

Did someone say, pyro? Finnish symphonic metallers went all-out when they returned to Bloodstock as headliners in 2008.

9. PJ Harvey – Camp Bestival, 2009

The English musician has proved her headliner credibility on more than one occasion. Here, at Camp Bestival in 2009, she showcases exactly what makes her a must-watch…

10. Blondie – Isle of Wight, 2010

Debbie Harry is essentially everything we want from a frontwoman at a festival – effortlessly cool, the ability to deliver big choruses with ease, and the kind of subtle dance moves that make us feel okay about the OTT shapes we’re throwing.

11. Pixies – Isle of Wight, 2009

Paz Lenchantin’s understatedly-charming stage presence is all part of why we’ve yet to see a Pixies headline set we didn’t love. Case in point…

12. The White Stripes – Reading and Leeds Festival, 2004

Meg White’s is proof enough that women don’t need to be holding the lead mic to make an impact on stage. Her infectious drumming here, had the entire Reading crowd off their feet.

13. Rihanna – T in the Park, 2013

Bringing everything that fans love about her arena shows to the main stage at T in the Park, Rihanna was every inch the worthy festival headliner in 2013.

14. Grace Jones – Lovebox, 2012

Lovebox strikes again! Grace Jones slipped effortlessly into headline mode in 2012, and it was prreeeetty prop-tastic.

15. Faithless – Isle of Wight, 2005

There’s a relentless and euphoric kind of energy that comes from a Faithless festival set and Isle of Wight took full advantage of it in 2005.

Who’s your favourite female festival headliners of all time, and who have we missed? Tell us @TicketmasterUK.

Share post