Falls Festival organisers have issued a response to a searing call out from Camp Cope, one of the bands on the festival’s bill, criticising the festival for its lack of women on the lineup, as well as the relatively low amount of representation and prominence afforded to that small handful of artists.

Camp Cope, a vitally important trio from Melbourne, were on-stage at the Byron Bay edition of the festival on Monday; a set which drew a capacity crowd to the festival’s ‘Galaxy Stage‘ tent arena, and one that quite easily had more than enough punters to fill the arena surrounding the festival main stage.

Through their incendiary, industry calling-out tune The Opener, the band – via fearless and peerless singer Georgia Maq – took aim at the festival for booking a lineup featuring a pretty piss poor number of nine women.

The group also shared images of the giant crowd that amassed to watch the band play despite the head-scratchingly low-on-the-bill set time of 3:35 in the afternoon, as well as the mammoth crowd that watched the band perform two days earlier in Lorne.

With the exception of late-night DJ sets by Nina Las Vegas and Anna Lunoe, none of the women on the Falls lineups were afforded sets that extended much beyond 7pm, with the bulk being relegated to perform in the early afternoon slots.

In response, Falls organisers have issued a statement that echoes similar corporate-focused, middle-of-the-road reactions other festivals have issued when faced with similar criticism, attempting to downplay their own role or significance in booking gender-diverse lineups and instead insisting that the festival has a “long-term strategy” with one hand while praising events that have already achieved it with the other.

The statement from festival co-producer Jessica Ducrou, issued via The Music, reads as follows:

We book the best bands available at the time of booking taking gender balance into consideration, which can be challenging.

Whilst we have a very conscious and strong agenda to book female talent, it isn’t always available to us at that headline level. We have a long term strategy, which is present on this year’s Falls line up, of giving opportunities to new and middle range female Australian artists, to nurture and grow the future pool of female headline options.

We support the core message of gender balance and have been working towards a more balanced line up at Falls. We have seen other bands who are passionate about this topic go out and started their own events where they have total control of the line-up, with great success and we applauded their initiative. Taking control yourself, is a great way to effect change.

Falls is also copping heat for enduring yet another Tasmanian iteration marred by reports of sexual assault. Three separate incidents were reported by patrons of the Marion Bay festival, with one resulting in police laying charges after the victim and her friend performed a citizen’s arrest on the alleged perpetrator.

The ABC even reports that media were denied access to the festival after the first assault was reported to festival officials on Friday. Which, we cannot stress this enough, is an absolutely appalling look for Falls organisers and the festival as a whole.

Source: The Music
Image: Facebook / Camp Cope, Naomi Lee Beveridge