Moaning Old Hippie: undeserving headliners

We'd like to welcome our latest member of the VF Team: Moaning Old Hippie. Every now and then, he'll pop up and groan about how festivals aren't what they used to be...

Well another festival season in underway and another succession of undeserving headline acts and shoddy line-up choices. Seems to me, nowadays legendary rock gods are reduced to mere mortals in the wake of this year’s latest fad. You know who I’m talking about, the haircut wielding, relentlessly smug youngsters that possess all the longevity of the obligatory naked guy at festivals. Sure, they’re entertaining at first but when you get to my age they all blend into one vaguely fleshy blur.

Take me back to 1964 when The Yardbirds and The Stones topped Reading’s bill. Ah! The glory days of rock ‘n’ roll! True rock pioneers at the height of their game. Now Reading has to put up with digging up fads of the past like My Chemical Romance.

Remember when The Black Parade was on the lips of all the tight-trouser’d vampire wannabes, and The Daily Mail was waging their war on Emo kind? Now, just when you thought the floppy-fringed rebellion was just a bad memory, the baby-faced whiners are back, seemingly without reason. Their fourth studio album was released back in 2009 without much success, apart from with those who were originally sold on the band’s hype. Meanwhile, ever-living punks The Offspring sit nestled halfway down the table.

Rumour has it, fans have been somewhat disappointed by this year’s bill at Download Festival. Personally, I can’t see an increasingly young audience being interested in anything about Def Leppard apart from their drummer. The newly re-united System Of A Down are clearly going to steal that show, but nothing new from the Donington Park crew, who seem to like repeating headliners as much as those on Worthy Farm.

Festivals should to be a breeding pool of raw talent, a place for new bands to test their worth and for would-be Gods to achieve greatness; not a dressing room for divas and the latest gimmick. The odd comedy choice or super-star act can go down a treat, but flash in the pan pop groups? Not going to get my hard-earned moolah.

The boys from Pendulum have secured themselves top places at a few festivals this summer, an interesting choice that will no-doubt impress as many as it repulses. Truly a Marmite kind of group, you might be forgiven for questioning if they will still be securing those slots next year, but they will undoubtedly raise the roof on the second stage. Something tells me that former nu-metal kings, Korn might be a little miffed sitting in second-place behind them at Download.

Now let me ask you a question: have you ever met one of those ancient hippies that can recite the exact set list T-Rex played at Glasto 1970? What coat Mr. Plant threw into the crowd at Knebworth 1979? Now, try and recall all of the headliners you saw last year.