When announcing the first acts for Scotland’s TRNSMT Festival, festival director Geoff Ellis said that „there’s far, far less female artists“. He said this to explain why only two of the 13 artists confirmed so far for TRNSMT 2020 are female. He also said more women need to be „picking up guitars“ and „playing in bands“.
Mr Ellis‘ words (you can read more about them here) made us think for a second, then they made us angry. Especially because TRNSMT is not the only festival that, in our opinion, is still booking way too little women artists. This year Barcelona’s Primavera Sound Festival was the first ever to come up with a 50/50 male/female line-up and presented a row of high profile women artists. It is possible. Period.
There may be reasons for so many festivals still booking less female artists, and we don’t claim to know and understand all of them. But we know for sure that what Geoff Ellis is saying is bullshit. To prove our point, we sat down together and said: can we, without digging too much into research, rather spontaneously, think of 100 female (or partly female) acts we would like to see at any festival in 2020? Well, we could. The following list does not claim to be complete, nor do we know anything about the logistical possibilities of booking any of these artists. But we do know: they are out there, they have been actively performing or releasing music this year or will do so next year, and they are brilliant. Dear festival directors, you might not be able to book all of them, but maybe you can draw some inspiration out of it – or at least, next time, think of better excuses when you need to make some.
By the way, not all of the following women are „picking up guitars“. This list is as eclectic as it gets. Whether you are looking for Pop, Punk, Indie, Hip Hop, Country or Metal, it’s all there.
FKA twig’s „Magdalene“ is one of the weirdest and most beautiful albums of the year. Her shows turn every concert hall (and every festival ground) into a theatrical experience.
2. Rina Sawayama
Rina Sawayama just signed with UK label Dirty Hit. We’re sure she would love to come around to turn the crowd into a moshpit and tell the haters to STFU.
Norwegian Superstar Aurora announced that she will only be playing very few shows in 2020. So be quick, book her before someone else does!
4. Taylor Swift
Did you know that the biggest Popstar of our time is actually a woman?
5. Lucy Dacus
Lucy Dacus is covering Bruce Springsteen on her current EP „2019“. She’s the boss!
6. Liza Anne
Liza Anne recently released her new single „Devotion“. We hope she will devote herself to playing some shows in Europe next year.
7. Angel Olsen
Angel Olsen will be touring with her creepy, beautiful new album „All Mirrors“ next year. She has already announced a couple of festival shows, but we hope there will be space for more in her calendar.
8. alyona alyona
If you haven’t met Ukrainian rapper alyona alyona yet, it’s about time that you do!
9. Amyl and the Sniffers
Amy Taylor and her Sniffers from Australia are a force of nature – be brave, confront your audience with them!
We can’t think of anything to say that would make Lizzo greater than we already think she is.
11. Tash Sultana
Tash Sultana will be on tour with a full band this year. But if your budget is tight, she can come around on her own, bringing along all of her instruments.
Please take a look at Japanese all girl band CHAI’s Tiny Desk Concert. And then, tell us you don’t want that for yourself.
Don’t worry, K.Flay won’t be spreading bad vibes if you book her! Quite the opposite.
14. Neneh Cherry
Thanks to Neneh Cherry, we all wanted to wear these kind of lace pants in the nineties. We promise we will wear them again if you book her.
15. Little Scream
We are very much in favour of Laurel Sprengelmeyer playing more shows in Europe next year. She will bring along her beautiful new album „Speed Queen“.
16. Alexandra Saviour
Alexandra Saviour is so beautiful, talented and special, we find it hard to think of someone who compares to her.
17. Blood Red Shoes
Blood Red Shoes so far have only confirmed one festival gig for 2020. Book them so we get to see more of them!
18. My Ugly Clementine
You wouldn’t guess that these four ladies are from Austria. And they make really cute dance videos, too.
19. Bat for Lashes
We are really hungry for seeing Natasha Khan, aka Bat for Lashes, live again. It’s been way too long!
20. Sharon van Etten
If Sharon van Etten’s „Seventeen“ isn’t one of the most beautiful songs of the year, we don’t want to be seventeen anymore.
21. Billie Eilish
Looking for a big headliner? Here you go.
22. Patti Smith
You haven’t really lived before you’ve seen the „Godmother of Punk“ live.
The HAIM sisters already released two new singles this year and confirmed a couple of festival gigs for 2020.
24. Betta Lemme
The Canadian singer, songwriter and producer really kicked our door with her funky tunes this year.
25. girl in red
After her festival tour this summer, the international press claimed that Marie Ulven Ringheim would become serious headliner material next year. We can’t wait to see her prove that.
26. Kate Nash
Kate Nash was already supposed to tour this fall, but had to postpone her shows to next summer. Now we can’t wait to have her back.
27. The Highwomen
Four reasons for booking the Highwomen: you get not one, but four of the most important women of Modern Country music: Brandi Carlile, Natalie Hemby, Maren Morris and Amanda Shires.
The British singer with impressive voice and sweet charm just won the Brits Rising Star Award and released a duet with Britpop icon Paul Weller. Nothing to add.
Berlin band MiA. could easily be booked internationally. Their message of love, positivity and self acceptance translates even if you don’t understand the lyrics.
30. Lana Del Rey
Well, of course Lana Del Rey. Of course!
Shura makes pop music more beautiful and sensual than ever. And the dancing nuns in her video for „Religion“ are simply amazing.
32. Bishop Briggs
Bishop Briggs‘ sound and attitude hit the pit of your stomach. She’s a real champion.
The release of Sleater-Kinney’s „The Center Won’t Hold“, their first new record in four years, was one of the best surprises of 2019.
Finnish pop sensation ALMA wrote songs for some of the biggest female popstars in the world. But she is also an impressive performer herself.
35. The Japanese House
Amber Bain’s songs are so beautiful, they make you laugh and cry at the same time.
Last year, Jack White invited Mattiel to support him on his Boarding House Reach Tour. We will be forever thankful for that.
37. Agnes Obel
Danish singer Agnes Obel is the queen of beautiful melancholia – or melancholy beauty? In 2020, she will release her new album „Myopia“.
Out of her bedroom and onto the big stages – 21 year old Claire Cottril, aka Clairo, is 2019’s queen of bedroom pop.
39. Jade Bird
British singer Jade Bird is fearless, life-affirming and full of energy – just like her video for „I Get No Joy“.
40. Dua Lipa
If you don’t want to bump into Dua Lipa, just stay at home. It’s as simple as that.
Glowie from Iceland has a very peculiar sound and style of her own.
42. Anna Calvi
Anna Calvi said she will be working on new material in 2020, but she has already confirmed her first festival shows. Thank God!
43. King Princess
Mikaela Straus, aka King Princess, is one of the biggest discoveries of 2019. We want to hear a lot more from her in 2020.
44. Florence + The Machine
To be honest, after playing many shows in the past year, it is quite likely that Florence Welch will take a break in 2020. But if we had one wish, it would always be Florence.
45. Janelle Monáe
Same with Janelle Monáe. She toured the world this year with her album „Dirty Computer“. But she will always be the headliner of our personal dream-festival.
46. The Hormones
Chinese girlband The Hormones was nominated this year for the Anchor Award at the Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg, and played a couple of celebrated shows in Europe. We are rooting for them to come back in 2020.
Milly Toomey, aka Girli, released her debut album „Odd One Out“ this year. We think she is ready to deal with much bigger stages in 2020.
The hype around Spanish singer ROSALÍA got even bigger this year. No wonder, her signature mix of Flamenco sounds and electronic beats is simply irresistible.
German singer Balbina will release her new album „Punkt“ next year. We can promise you, it will be big.
50. Wolf Alice
Ellie Rowsell’s band has already announced their first festival shows for 2020. We are very excited to see them again.
Bea Kristi is only 19 years old and has already released several EPs. On her latest one, „Space Cadet“, she sings about wanting to be Stephen Malkmus. We are quite happy that she is Beabadoobee.
Solange has definitely stepped out of her older sister’s, Beyoncé’s, shadow. Her music is like comfort food for the soul.
Japanese Kawaii-Metal sensation Babymetal has this amazing WTF-effect. In 2020, they will be touring their new album „Metal Galaxy“.
Berlin band Gurr has already opened for acts like Arcade Fire. They bring up memories to the Riot Grrrl times of the early nineties.
When Robyn is singing „Dancing On My Own“ in front of thousands of people, feet start to dance and eyes start to cry at the same time.
56. Ingrid Michaelson
Ingrid Michaelson dedicated her latest album „Stranger Songs“ entirely to the Netflix cult-series „Stranger Things“. Musical fanfiction! How cool is that.
We are torn between fascination and fear when LA band Starcrawler, and especially frontwoman Arrow de Wilde, enters the stage. So much madness, so much Rock’n’Roll!
Hard to say if Feist will go on tour in 2020, but we never stop hoping. And we wouldn’t mind if she brought along her buddies Kings of Convenience.
59. Ida Kudo
The Danish singer integrates her Japanese roots into her music, alongside Electronica and Worldbeats. A fascinating mix!
60. Big Thief
The New Yorker band around frontwoman Adrienne Lenker proves that classic Indie-Rock is more alive than ever.
Say what you like, Madonna will always be the mother of female Pop. We hope she gets better soon, as she had to cancel her current tour due to health reasons.
62. Olivia Jean
The female star of Jack White’s label Third Man Records needs much more presence in Europe, we think. We would love to see her performing live soon!
63. Missy Elliott
Missy Elliott’s performance at the MTV VMA Music Awards was one of the most impressive performances of the year. We need that to happen on stage, right before your eyes, very, very soon.
American electronic pop band MUNA proved this year, with their new album, that good pop music „Saves The World“. We are their number one fan.
65. Nasty Cherry
Charli XCX wanted to create the best band in the world. You can see how that worked out in the Netflix series „I’m with the Band…“. And, of course, now we would like to know what the four ladies sound like live.
66. Wallis Bird
This Irish singer/songwriter plays her shows all by herself, which is hard to believe when you hear her complex sound. You will have to witness it yourself.
67. Kate Tempest
Can Kate Tempest be described as a Rapper? Her shows as concerts? It feels like a much more profound experience.
68. Basia Bulat
Canadian singer/songwriter Basia Bulat definitely is our girl. In 2020, she will release her new album „Are You In Love?“ Yes, we are.
69. Miley Cyrus
There is no other superstar who moves as fluidly between the worlds of Mainstream and Indie as Miley Cyrus. Together with the Flaming Lips, she once wanted to pull of a full nude show. We would love to see her live, but even more if we can keep our clothes on.
70. Aldous Harding
Officially, Aldous Harding is from New Zealand. But she might as well be from another planet.
Who knows if Björk will tour next year. But this list cannot leave out the Icelandic icon, who is so much more than „just“ a musician.
72. Phoebe Bridgers
Phoebe Bridgers will be on tour with The National next year. We wouldn’t mind her bringing them along, her voice sounds so beautiful with Matt Berninger’s.
73. Bikini Kill
Kathleen Hanna and her Riot Grrrls announced a reunion for 2020. Thanks to her, we feel like Rebel Girls forever.
Peaches last album „Rub“ was already released in 2015, but her presence on stage doesn’t stick to any industry rules. Hearing a whole festival crowd sing along to „Fuck The Pain Away“ is one of our wildest dreams.
Grimes just released a new song, „My Name Is Dark“. We are suspecting she is up for more in 2020.
76. Sophie Hunger
The Swiss singer/songwriter won this year’s German Preis für Popkultur as best solo artist and played international festivals like SZIGET Festival in Budapest.
77. Faye Webster
21 seems to be the common age nowadays for someone to be as talented, mature and productive as Faye Webster. She is also a Hip Hop photographer and loves pedal steel guitar. We love this girl.
78. Donna Missal
When you meet Donna Missal in person, you are surprised by how petite she is – there is so much energy, strength and power in her performance.
79. Brittany Howard
Alabama Shakes frontwoman Brittany Howard released her beautiful solo album „Jaime“ this year. She is one of these artists who sound even better live.
80. Julia Jacklin
Julia Jacklin lives far away from us in Australia. But her songs sound as if she was really close.
81. Lisa Pac
Another Austrian in this modest list. But who cares anyway, her catchy popsongs speak quite an international language.
82. Cherry Glazerr
Cherry Glazerr, Clementine Creevy’s rockband from Los Angeles, are constantly developing their sound. But they always combine punk attitude with pop appeal.
73-years-old Superstar Cher played her first live shows in 14 years this year. We think this is exactly where she should continue in 2020.
84. Courtney Barnett
„Everybody Here Hates You“ is one of our favorite songs from 2019. And everybody here loves Courtney Barnett.
85. Charli XCX
With Troye Sivan, Charli XCX is singing about wanting to go back to 1999 – she was seven years old back then. One could argue whether that makes sense, but one could not argue about the fact that Charli XCX is one of our five favorite female popstars.
86. Jessica Pratt
Radiohead’s Thom Yorke is one of Jessica Pratt’s biggest fans. Her new album „Quiet Sings“ proves that quiet can be loud in the heart.
87. Alice Merton
Alice Merton started out with a bang when her major hit „No Roots“ first came out. This year she released her debut album „MINT“, appeared as a juror on „The Voice of Germany“, and carried home the victory with her protegee Claudia Emmanuela Santos.
88. Julien Baker
Julien Baker only needs one song to squeeze your heart out, as her latest single „Tokyo“ proves once again.
89. Sudan Archives
Brittney Denise Parks, aka Sudan Archives, combines her voice with the sound of her violin and therefore creates her very own genre.
90. Lillie Mae
Lillie Mae is another great female artist on Jack White’s Third Man Records label. She released her second album „Other Girls“ this year, and her music combines Folk and Country sounds with her significant voice.
Halsey’s energy is far away from reminding one of a graveyard. Her upcoming album „Manic“ is one of the most anticipated releases of 2020.
92. Little Simz
British rapper Little Simz already toured with acts like Gorillaz. Her latest album „GREY Zone“ doesn’t sound grey at all.
Fun fact: if you book Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker, you can get their Supergroup boygenius on top.
94. Winona Oak
Danish artist Winona Oak might be an insider tip these days. That will change in 2020, when her debut EP will be released.
95. Velvet Two Stripes
The three ladies are amongst the coolest things Switzerland has to offer. Since 2012 they are doing their own thing, loud, independent, and always stirring a buzz.
96. Stella Donnelly
She might look sweet, but Stella Donnelly’s album „Beware of the Dogs“ is full of razor-sharp humor and social criticism.
97. Liz Phair
Liz Phair is an absolute icon of female Independent Music. Her latest single „Good Side“ proves that she is as relevant as ever. Next year, she will tour with Alanis Morissette. How cool is that!
98. Let’s Eat Grandma
Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth founded their duo in 2013, when they were only 13 years old. So far they have released two albums and have played legendary festivals like Glastonbury. Grandma might be scared, we are simply delighted.
North Carolina Rapper Ashnikko is all about art, music, female empowerment and sexual freedom. We are with her on all of that.
100. Tina Dico
Danish Singer/Songwriter Tina Dico is constantly on tour or recording. No matter if she is alone with her guitar, with a full band or with her husband/creative partner Helgi Jonsson, she simply lives for the stage.