Gender bias in Bele Chere lineup?

I was talking today with a group of friends about the musical lineup during Bele Chere, and from our inspection it appears that less than 20 percent of the lineup features bands with a female lead. What's more, all of the bands with a female lead play outside of prime time, or not on a main stage.

This means that every single one of the prime-time, main-stage acts are male-fronted bands (that's seven out of seven bands).

Does this represent the talent pool here in the region? No. There are an amazing selection of female-fronted acts based locally or regionally, and their voices and messages are both important and beautiful.

While I would not go so far as to say this bias was intentional, I would say that this may be a moment when we can clearly face the fact that even in such a progressive space as Asheville, women still face significant challenges in getting recognition for the amazing work they do.

— Solon David Smith

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3 thoughts on “Gender bias in Bele Chere lineup?

  1. boatrocker

    I do believe Solon has finally uncovered a vast, sinister and insidious conspiracy that previously was only whispered about in hushed tones by candle light in back rooms.

    In fact, this conspiracy to devalue local female performers is so carefully orchestrated that to the casual listener it would appear that on the surface a significant portion of the musical write ups in the Mountain X and ACT actually are female fronted or contain female members. This is only to keep up appearances of course.

    WNCW obviously is in on the conspiracy too and their specialty programs that cover local and regional female performers are only a clever ruse.

    Additionally, to further maintain the illusion that female musical inclusion happens in our fair town, it must be noted that both the Mountain X and ACT both utilize women as a majority of their music editors.

    One need only translate “Bele Chere” from its original Scottish Gaelic meaning-

    “Hey sweetie, when you’re finished cleaning the house and tuning up my bagpipes, howz about you go make me a drink?”

    to realize how deep this conspiracy truly goes.
    Appalling to say the least.

    Such examples of acts that recently played which contain female players:

    Carolina Rex
    David Holt and the Lightning Bolts
    Drew Holcombe and the Neighbors
    Joy Stoyles
    Nahko and Medicine for the People
    Paul’s Creek Band
    The Restoration
    The Stereofidelics
    The Swayback Sisters
    Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band
    and some lady named Wanda Jackson

    Solon, like many Bele Chere attendees, may have noticed that none of the female performers were paid this year, nor were their mics turned on while performing, and worst of all were required to walk 5 steps behind their male band mates upon entering or exiting the stage area.

  2. melodiccheese

    What about Wanda Jackson? Top billing, prime time, and a main stage. She was a treat to see. For me the highlight of the whole festival — and a true lady in every good sense of the word.

    Beyond that I don’t know how acts applied or were selected, but have trouble thinking there was even a subtle or unconscious desire to exclude women. Absent some concrete information on the selection process (and a more accurate accounting of performers), your conclusions may be a bit of a rush to judgment.

  3. indy499

    So, your a quota guy a guess? Any idea what the % is of female led bands. me either. Maybe they were over-represented.

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