CMA is All Talk When It Comes to Including Females in Festival Lineup


The CMA has officially released the Nissan Stadium lineup for the CMA Music Festival coming up the 2nd week in June, and despite all of the talk of diversity and the inclusion of female acts in country, the lineup remains painfully lacking in female representation once again.

Out of a total of 19 performers, only three are female (Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Kelsea Ballerini), and one is partially female fronted (Little Big Town). Broken down, that gives females 18.4% representation at the event, as first pointed out by Windmills Country. This percentage doesn’t include any of the side stages at the festival, but the stadium stage is where the telecast footage is shot, meaning the lack of female diversity will also translate to the television special for the fest that usually airs in August. Breaking the numbers down even further, two of the three female acts that did make the lineup are featured on Thursday—the day that is usually the least-attended.

Despite how terrible the numbers are, the CMA can still claim improvement though. Last year, the main stage boasted a whole of one female act when it was announced—Wynonna with her “Big Noise” band. The Band Perry, Lady Antebellum, and Little Big Town, who all have female members, also played the event, and Carrie Underwood was added as a late edition. But out of 21 total acts in 2015, the female representation was deplorable.

Perhaps it’s too much to ask for 50% female representation, but the CMA could at least feature one female act on the primary Saturday and Sunday lineups. Also when you look at the undercard you see 2nd tier acts such as Chris Young, Cole Swindell, and Brett Eldredge, so why couldn’t the upsurging Cam get a spot, or Maren Morris with the surprising success of her single “My Church”? Why not Maddie & Tae or Kacey Musgraves?

Carrie Underwood thinks she knows why.

“You’re at a festival and they will talk about potentially having another woman on there and then they are like, ‘No, no, we already have one. We can’t have two,'” Underwood told CBS News recently. “I don’t understand that mentality.”

Carrie Underwood was talking to CBS about how the ACM’s have chosen to make their “Party for a Cause” first day lineup to be all women this year.

“I have been at places where they wanted me to play before a guy, just because it was a guy,” Underwood said. “Someone who hasn’t necessarily sold as much or done as much or been around as long. And I am like, ‘No!’ It has nothing to do with ego. It just makes no sense to me.”

Gary Bongiovanni, the President of Pollstar agrees. “It would be foolish to put an all-male lineup on if there’s a significant demand for female artists and there certainly is. Why would you have a country music festival and not have Kacey Musgraves or Cam or any of the newer acts coming up?”

That’s the same question many are asking while looking at the main stage lineup for the 2016 CMA Festival.

Thursday, June 9:  Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Kelsea Ballerini, Miranda Lambert, and Rascal Flatts

Friday, June 10: Eric Church, Sam Hunt, Chris Stapleton, Carrie Underwood, and Hank Williams, Jr.

Saturday, June 11: Chris Young, Cole Swindell, Florida Georgia Line, and Blake Shelton

Sunday, June 12: Little Big Town, Thomas Rhett, Brett Eldredge, Keith Urban, and Luke Bryan.


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