March 3, 2016


Tumblr to Celebrate Feminism at SXSW Event with Crystal Castles

Marc Broussely/Redferns
Marc Broussely/Redferns

Popular social media platform Tumblr is headed to the music portion of SXSW this year. 

The site will host something called the 79 Cents event on Wednesday, March 16, The Verge reports. The number reflects the gender wage gap in the US in 2014, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, and almost all of the musicians playing identify as female (each band features a woman, at the very least.) It's Jhené Aiko, Tacocat, Little Simz, Empress Of and headliners Crystal Castles.

It's the latter act that could become the source of some controversy. In Oct 2014, founding frontwoman Alice Glass announced that she was leaving the then-duo of her and producer / songwriter Ethan Kath. She wrote, "My art and my self-expression in any form has always been an attempt towards sincerity, honesty, and empathy for others. For a multitude of reasons both professional and personal, I no longer feel this is possible within Crystal Castles." Glass never said anything explicit about abuse but she did say she felt "mistreated and manipulated" by Kath.

Nate Auerbach, head of Tumblr Music, said of the booking:

"I think the thing that’s important here is that we’re celebrating the female voice on Tumblr and that’s very much what Crystal Castles is...It’s not about having only women on the stage, it’s about being in the same place that men are, and that’s in front...I’ve heard [Glass replacement] Edith [Frances]'s voice, and I’ve seen photos, and I know enough that she’s incredible. I don’t get involved in the politics of the things."

The Verge reached out to Glass about the feminist fest, to which she replied, "As someone who knew Ethan Kath on a personal and professional level, it is my opinion that he is not an appropriate artist to be performing at a feminism-centric event." 

We'll have to wait to see how this plays out. For now, take our quiz: Which Music Festival Is Right For You?