THIS summer I stood on a Barcelona beach ignoring the grains of sand pouring into my trainers as I jostled through a huge crowd to find a decent spot to see Lizzo perform. It was the final night of the four-day Primavera Festival and I was underslept, underfed and unaware of the severity of a few nasty mosquito bites.

But my best friend and I pushed through our discomfort, racing from stage to stage across the huge festival site as we tried to catch Kali Uchis, Solange, Rosalia, Lizzo and Neneh Cherry in quick succession.

I’d wanted to attend Primavera for years, but this year they did something different which finally made me willing to fork out for flights, somewhere to stay and a weekend ticket. The theme was The New Normal – meaning there were more women than men on the line-up.

I went with Courtney, who I met on social media site Tumblr when we were both about 13 and getting started in music.

At the time, we recorded covers of songs with our guitars and keyboards, but over the years we graduated on to writing our own material and recording EPs and albums. I travelled to the Midlands to perform with her and she came to Scotland to do the same. Just knowing another woman in music was crucial for us and gave us a sense that we weren’t alone. When we were booked for gigs in our hometowns, we’d often be the only women on the line-up.

After experiencing that together and seeing music scenes become more diverse over the decade, the theme of Primavera was a major draw for us. Women are dominating music now. Take a look at any major publication’s best albums of 2019 list – the number of women, and the variety of genres they are performing in, is striking. So why did the TRNSMT festival director Geoff Ellis this week claim there are “far, far less female artists” than male ones?

READ MORE: ‘F*ck all effort’ with TRNSMT festival’s gender balance excuse

Ellis made the comments in defence of his decision to feature just two women – so far – on the bill for Scotland’s flagship music festival. He also referred to women as “females” and said we need to get more of them “picking up guitars”.

It’s not the first time TRNSMT has faced criticism for its approach to gender. Last year they launched the Queen Tuts stage for up-and-coming female artists to perform on. It’s something, but it misses the underlying point that women should be on the regular King Tuts and main stages.

Ellis claimed it will be “several years” before any major festival achieves a gender balance, but there were plenty of women performing at Primavera – many of them with guitars, Mr Ellis – and it’s significantly bigger than TRNSMT.

For a leading figure in the music industry to act as if there are fewer female acts is, frankly, ignorant. What’s more, TRNSMT’s line-up fails to acknowledge that the last 10 years have seen the relevance of guitar music reduced to a fraction of what it once was. Along with acts such as Liam Gallagher, Snow Patrol, Ian Brown and Keane, TRNSMT’s line-up and Ellis’s claims are both relics of time gone by.

I’m tired of having this conversation. I know how important it is for women to see themselves represented, how exclusionary it feels to see male band after male band rewarded while talented women struggle to get booked.

Male bookers need to ask themselves if they want to keep repeating the same stale line-ups of bland guitar music and attract the same crowd every time, or draw music fans from around the world in to see a diverse mix of artists. I’ll always remember Primavera 2019 because I travelled more than 1000 miles to be there. I won’t be able to say the same for TRNSMT, a festival taking place in the city I live in, as until they make a real effort to address these issues there’s no way I’m spending my money on a ticket.