Female Dillo Day artist a Mayfest priority


Daily file photo by Susan Du

Students dance during Dillo Day 2012. Dillo Day has not had a female headliner since Regina Spektor in 2010.

Jordan Harrison, Assistant Campus Editor

A Weinberg senior started a petition last quarter requesting Mayfest bring a “female-bodied artist” to this year’s Dillo Day, noting it has been four years since the event featured a female performer.

The petition, started by Nancy DaSilva, was posted on social media to encourage students to sign it to show their support.

Members of the Mayfest executive board said prior to seeing the petition, the group had been looking to feature a female performer for this year’s Dillo Day. 

Medill junior Ian Robinson, Mayfest promotions co-chair, said including gender diversity in the Dillo Day lineup has been a priority since the beginning of the school year.

“Literally at our first meeting where we talked about some of the artists that we want to potentially bring, it was brought up that we recognize that we haven’t had a female performer in the past few years,” Robinson said. “When we saw the petition, it was cool to see that it was something the campus noticed as well and something the campus cares about.”

The last female solo artist on the Dillo Day stage was Regina Spektor, who performed as the daytime headliner in 2010.

“Since I have been here there hasn’t been a female performer,” Robinson said.

Medill junior Ted Tae signed the petition, but said he was not sure the lack of female performers was intentionally non-inclusive.

“I thought it was interesting the point that she brought up about there not being a female artist in four years,” Tae said. “I don’t know if the fact that there not being a female performer in however many years really signifies anything. I don’t think that’s necessarily sexist on the part of Mayfest.”

Weinberg freshman Tricia Cruz said she signed the petition because she wanted to see more equal representation at Dillo Day. She said she would be interested in seeing artists such as Beyonce or Shakira.

“Try to keep it equal and try to represent everyone on this campus,” Cruz said. “(Have) some artists that the population here at Northwestern can identify with so that Dillo Day can be a collective experience for every individual on this campus.”

Communication junior Michael Bass, Mayfest concerts chair, said Mayfest is prioritizing female artists, but several factors such as money and availability make getting top-choice performers difficult.

“We need to get big artists for little money, so it’s really about strategy there,” Bass said. “What we look for is who is hot, who can we afford and who will play for us.”

Bass said larger trends in the music industry could have also affected Dillo Day’s lack of female performers in the past several years.

“Music industry trends towards women are very unfortunate in that female artists occupy a very small range of prices. The better-known female artists are outrageously expensive very often,” Bass said. “If you look at trends nationally, you’ll see that out of the 120 artists performing at Bonnaroo, only 22 percent have a female lead.”

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