The internet has been full of angry typing this morning with people asking for their money back and venting their spleen over the choice of Kanye West to headline one of the nights at Glastonbury. There is even a petition demanding he be removed from the slot and replaced with a ‘rock band’ with songs that you can singalong to – when did being young get so middle aged! This is an insult to rock music which could well do without these conservative attitudes…Is there really much difference between someone shouting down a mic over a noisy band or someone shouting down a mic over noisy band?
The petition makes music sound like the campaign for real ale with Mumbleford and Sons proving the soundtrack and music culture weighed down under its own comfy electric blanket of tradition and stale boredom like Henley Regatta or the last night of the Proms without the passion…
West does not seem a popular choice for the festival which sometimes likes to upset its own rural apple cart with headline choices that cause digital meltdown but pass off without much problem when the night arrives.
Last year Metallica had pundits wondering just who they were and how some ‘metal’ band with ‘one half known song’ could headline such a big festival – turns out that Metallica are one of the biggest selling bands of all time and had more than enough songs that struck a chord with the mainly indie audience at the festival who at one time in their lives and been a bit more metally mental around the edges before those nice Mumford and Sons records had enveloped them with a whimsical warmth.
Hip Hop and Glasto have always made uneasy bedfellows – Noel Gallagher wasn’t too happy about Jay -Z playing on year (and Jay -Z went down really well). It seems that the perception is that the main stage at the festival is cleared for misty eyed indie and sixties legend action. All kinds of dusty legends are brushed down for their Glasto slot whilst the BBC presenters get misty eyed and button up their sensible cardigans against the on coming night time cold and reminisce about the good old days of cosy music as Glastonbury gets its warm blanket and flask of bovril non stop coverage (there are other festivals out there that could be on TV as well you know…)
To shake this up is a good thing.
Kanye West may not be the most likeable human being on the planet but since when has that been an important issue in pop music? Even he will not be bringing a huge personal backstage of his own complete with banqueting hall and running track that no one is allowed in like the Rolling Stones did. He won’t be insisting on his own personal toilet by the stage or clearing the backstage area like other bands have done – he will certainly be doing lots of of other ego related things but that’s the unfortunate side of showbiz.
In a festival of hundreds of acts and many headline stages does it really matter who the headline act is? are there really people out there who spend the whole festival camped out in front of the main stage watching only those bands?
Moaning about the headline at Glastonbury has become a national sport – maybe it’s time to venture to the other stages or not watch ‘Glasto’ on TV and go out and watch musicians in small venues that need support, or maybe it’s time to ignore the ego of performers and just listen to the music or maybe watch a performance from a different genre just in case it may be pretty good and then fuck off to another stage after a couple of songs…