1. St. Vincent is a woman named Annie Clark. She is a woman. (Read up on her here, in Devon Maloney's excellent Village Voice story "The Bulletproof Altar of St. Vincent.") Halifax—historically, but especially lately—has huge problems putting women on stages (like, so does everybody, Coachella has never touched 25 percent boobs in its entire existence) and there is no movement amongst the powers that be to do anything about it. (I wrote about some specifics a year ago; 2013's Canada Day, Natal Day and Georges Island lineups were equally dismal. Stay for the comments btw.)
I am on the board of the Halifax Pop Explosion, which has good years and bad years with respect to representation. I also have access to the budget and what bands cost, and a lot of big female artists—your Yeah Yeah Yeahs, your Sleigh Bellses, your Haims—are simply beyond the financial scope of the festival. However:
2. St. Vincent is the biggest indie female artist currently performing. Clark has just released her fourth in a run of consistently excellent albums—there's one with David Byrne too, the horntastic Love This Giant—is currently touring the United States, landing magazine covers, appearing on Portlandia and due in Europe and Australia before she even gets here.
Her art-rock is deft and challenging, subverting gender expectations while she jams out awesome pop music. She is vital, right this second. She's not the Backstreet Boys playing the Metro Centre this spring or Blondie at the Casino (a show I loved, that took place in 2009). I don't know what it will cost the Jazz Fest to bring her here, but I guarantee it's not cheap, and it's a notable and laudable move that the rest of Halifax promoters should consider a challenge.
3. St. Vincent is a wonderful singer, an evocative lyricist and incredible guitar player. Her current touring show is choreographed and scripted down to the last piece of banter. Halifax women need to see this, a world-renowned indie-rock artist presenting her art on a large stage, holding up a vision that's wholly hers, and then they need to go home knowing they can do it too.
This is a huge fucking deal.