Nearly 50 years ago, Woodstock Music & Art Fair was conceived as “Three Days of Peace and Music.” With headliners including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and the Grateful Dead, there was a kaleidoscope of talent represented on stage and off. Since then, music festivals have remained outlets for creative prosperity and unity. What also hasn’t changed is the underrepresentation of female artists at the top of festival bills. “I’ve never seen a female headliner,” singer-songwriter Maggie Rogers tells me. And she’s not alone in that observation.
Today, there is a web of female artists who thrive in a supportive musical community, encouraging inclusivity and diversity on stages. Artist Maggie Rogers was enlisted to headline and co-curate an all-female lineup for the first day of the All Things Go Fall Classic music festival on October 6 in Washington D.C., along with artist Lizzy Plapinger, who performs as LPX. “There’s a really obvious thing that’s missing from music festival lineups, which is women and non-binary identifying people,” Rogers says. Plapinger and Rogers’s dream lineup features Billie Eilish, Jessie Reyez, Ravyn Lenae, Alma and other female superstars who share an inclusive mindset.
“There is such intention for why this group of artists is brought together to play this specific day. I hope there is a strong sense of camaraderie and community,” Rogers says of the All Things Go festival bill. Similar to Woodstock, music festivals should be fostering harmonious environments to motivate future artists. “I want the stages I perform on to look like what my life looks like,” she says. “It’s about making a change in this generation and investing in a future of diverse creativity.”
Rogers hails from Maryland and spent much of her youth surrounded by music before Pharrell Williams discovered her song “Alaska” in 2016. Since then, the sweet-voiced songstress has toured with female powerhouse group Haim, performed at Reading and Leeds festival and is gearing up for a fall headlining tour. Needless to say, ahead of All Things Go, Rogers has already proved herself as a deserving leading voice of this musical generation, and an inspiring face on stage.
She readily admits that there are two reasons for diversifying lineups. “Both are inherently feminist. One is about wanting to see more women and more diversity because you want the stage.”
“But I don’t want a headlining slot just because I’m a woman,” she says. “I want a headlining slot because I worked my ass off and I deserve it.”