Photo by Ben Kaye
On Wednesday, Moogfest shared its lineup for next year’s festival, billed as “led by female, non-binary, and transgender artists.” Now, though, one of the announced performers, Chairlift singer Caroline Polachek, is taking issue with the “female / non-gender-binary announcement list,” arguing that “gender is not a genre.”
“I was very excited to do a sinewave set at Moogfest next year, but am furious to see my name on an all-female / non-gender-binary announcement list that went out today,” Polachek wrote on Instagram. “Gender is not a genre. I don’t want or need a sympathy pedestal, especially not from a male curator. Take my name off this victimizing gimmick and put me in the pit with the boys, I can and will hold my own.”
A few hours later, Polachek updated the post and stated she would no longer be performing.
When reached for comment, Moogfest organizers shared a letter they sent to Polachek apologizing for taking “focus off of your artistry and talent.”
The festival said that it’s “intention is to showcase an initial lineup… that …amplifies [traditionally underrepresented] voices while supporting others in a way that challenges the manner in which festival lineups are typically presented.” The statement went on to add that “today’s announcement is just phase one of our 2018 lineup,” which will feature “a diverse lineup of talented performers across a wide spectrum of gender, culture and politics.”
Update – December 7th: Polachek has shared a second statement “to clarify a few points on my withdrawal from Moogfest.” She said she doesn’t have a problem with “all-fem/gnc lineups,” but rather the way the lineup was announced. “This is a gender-mixed festival where certain artists have been marched to the front of the line and paraded out together because they’re female/gnc. This speaks not to the artists or their music, but to the politics of the festival and congratulatory PR.”
“When I said ‘put me in the pit with the boys,’ the implication there wasn’t that I’m at all ashamed to share company with this amazing lineup – quite the opposite. Rather, I wanted to break the lane divisions and not be spotlighted for ‘historical underrepresentation,” Polachek added.
Read Moogfest’s full statement below:
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.
P.S. 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.