Update (12/7/2017, 4:25pm): Caroline Polacheck posted a further clarification of her previous statement on Twitter.
See the original story below.
On Tuesday, Moogfest, an eclectic music festival dedicated to the experimental side of electronic music, announced their initial artist line-up. The New York Times reported that in reaction to the male-dominated nature of music festivals, Moogfest announced only artists who identify as female, non-binary, and transgender in their first round of performers.
Caroline Polachek, formerly of the band Chairlift, spoke out yesterday about this peculiar political framing of the festival. She pulled out of the event, posting on Instagram and Twitter: “Furious to be (without approval) on an all-female & non-gender-binary announcement list for @Moogfest. Gender is not a genre. I don’t need a sympathy pedestal, esp from a male curator. Take my name off this list and put me in the pit with the boys.”
Pitchfork posted Moogfest’s response:
We apologize for reframing you in a way that takes focus off of your artistry and talent and we regret that you will no longer be taking part in Moogfest 2018.
Today’s lineup announcement was inspired by and coincided with Always On, a celebration of voices that are traditionally underrepresented. Our intention is to showcase an initial lineup that further amplifies those voices while supporting others in a way that challenges the manner in which festival lineups are typically presented.
We believe that using our platform to center women, non-binary and transgender people is an important tool to combat the erasure and invisibility that can occur when these identities are kept on the periphery. Please know that no musician was booked for Moogfest for any reason other than their own unique artistry, and today’s announcement is just phase one of our 2018 lineup. As always, the full Moogfest artist roster will be a diverse lineup of talented performers across a wide spectrum of gender, culture and politics.
Thank you for your honest expression. Thank you for your willingness to hold us to a higher standard. Thank you for starting this conversation.
PS. Moogfest is not curated by a man, it’s curated by a diverse group of people that work together as a team. There is not a single person, nor a single man that’s in charge of curating this event.
Love, Team Moogfest
The festival’s statement doesn’t address Polachek’s issue of framing non-male performers under one umbrella and seems to want a pat on the back for such progressive politics, when it really just serves to reinforce binaries. Not great, guys.
We’re currently reaching out to Polachek for comment and will update if we hear back.