'Do better': Bay Dreams line-up criticised for lack of female acts

The organisers of Kiwi festival Bay Dreams are copping backlash from local musicians and fans upset with the lack of gender diversity on the line-up. 

The first announcement for the 2021 gig was released on Monday and has since been criticised for the underrepresentation of female artists. 

Responding to the backlash, Bay Dreams directors have told Newshub some "big female names were lost" from the line-up announcement in the days leading up to it.

Kiwi DJ Half Queen, who often performs with JessB, tweeted: "Another day, another festival line-up of males" in response to the news. 

Meanwhile, local writer and poet Jordan Hamel took it upon himself to edit the festival's poster, removing all the male acts to leave it sparsely populated with the few female names remaining. 

"Do better," he tweeted along with the hashtag #boydreams. 

Auckland-based pop duo Foley did not name Bay Dreams, but also took to social media to implore festival promoters to change their ways. 

"Hey festivals, you love posting pictures of women in the crowd as promotion - ever thought of booking some on your line-up?" they asked on Twitter. 

Bay Dreams directors Mitch Lowe and Pato Alvarez said COVID-19 has presented challenges in putting the 2021 concerts together, but insist that diversity is important to them.

"We've been criticised for these six female artists not being enough and we hear that criticism. We agree that more needs to be done to address the imbalance and inequality across the board in music and we are listening," Lowe and Alvarez told Newshub.

"A couple of big female names were lost in last few days, but we still pushed on to deliver the biggest and best line-up possible and we are incredibly excited about the female acts that'll be playing at Bay Dreams."

More questions about gender were asked on the official Facebook page for Bay Dreams - North Island, some of which garnered responses from the organisers. 

One comment said it was a "bit of a shame" to see MC Tali's name billed in such small font on the poster "considering her long successful career both her and internationally", citing her win at last year's New Zealand Music Awards. 

Bay Dreams replied that they would be updating the billing to display Tali's name more prominently.

"Quite often as an MC it is displayed like this after the DJ, however we are making the edit and are excited to push Tali as an artist too," they wrote. 

The organisers also made mention of the female acts included in the initial announcements for the North and South Island shows, listing George Maple, Tali, Nyxen, GG Magree, Tori Levett and Poris and Sin. They also promised they were "excited to add more".