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International Women's Day 2018: MU Members Share Their Top Festival Moments

Thursday 8 March is International Women’s Day, celebrating brilliant women and highlighting how far we’ve got to go to reach true equality.

To mark the occasion, we asked Musicians’ Union (MU) members about their favourite woman-led festival moments…

Natalie McCool singer, songwriter & guitarist

One of my favourite EVER festival moments is Festival No. 6 2015 – when I saw Grace Jones headline. It was a spectacle to behold – an inspiring setlist full of variety, a huge multimedia set, numerous costume changes, extraordinary backing dancers – and she pulled the whole thing off with matchless stage presence and some of the bawdiest wit I’ve ever heard on stage – from anyone!

And to top it all off, it wasn’t until the last song that we realised she had been topless (and painted) the whole time... at which point my friend Mary (Epworth) commented “she is the world’s greatest rockstar” – we all concurred.

Absolutely fearless and sublime.

Nadine Wild-Palmer – singer songwriter

I have been to countless festivals and every Glastonbury bar one since I started university back in 2003, and I have been blessed to see some truly gifted performers. But Mary J. Blige stays with me, she shared so honestly and not only was her performance staggering, she gave her audience everything she had to offer and brought us all together so naturally.

My mate Oly dragged me down there that day feeling a bit put out by the mud and rain, but we left believing we could do and be anything we put our hearts and minds to! She literally set the crowd alight: truly unforgettable and impossible to recreate.

Jen Hingley – False Advertising

My favourite festival moment in recent memory was easily watching Peaches play Liverpool Sound City last year. She put on one of the most incredible, entertaining and startling shows I've ever seen – actually walking on the crowd's hands like some sort of Electro-punk goddess.

I feel that women are more often than not the unsung heroes of festivals, I've been bowled over by the energy and talent that people like Régine Chassagne, Hayley Williams, Sadie Dupuis, Jenny Lewis, Bjork, Alison Mosshart, Kim Deal, Lucy Hatter (from Kagoule, if you were wondering) and Imogen Heap have brought to festivals I've been lucky enough to be at.

It totally baffles me why the experience of seeing women play in this setting are so few and far between, it's crazy how normal it is to not even question the lack of diversity.

Claire Mooney – singer songwriter

It's shameful to say but I had to wrack my brains to think of who would fit the bill of a great woman performer who's blown me away at a festival... not because women aren't brilliant but because events are so dominated by men.

My choice would be Alison Moyet. I introduced her to the main stage at Manchester Pride a few years ago. She was amazing!

Not only has she an incredible back-catalogue of work and a sublime voice, her longevity in a business that is tough at the best of times, particularly for women, is a testament to her enormous talent. Her performance seemed effortless and full of passion all at the same time. Brilliant!

What’s your favourite festival moment?

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Published: 07/03/2018
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