So Noel Gallagher is the latest to put the boot into Jay-Z headlining
Glastonbury, claiming the New York rapper and hip-hop in general are wrong for Glastonbury. Yawn… isn't this all getting very boring?
And hang on? Noel Gallagher saying what should and shouldn't be at Glastonbury. Let's think about this for a second… this is someone who's produced one decent album in the last 10 years and who's band was responsible for THE worst Glastonbury headline set of the decade (Oasis in 2004). The fact is, Noel Gallagher is in absolutely no position to say who is right or wrong for Glastonbury, in exactly the same way that narrow-minded, guitar-obsessed NME readers are.
As last year showed, Glastonbury needs to move on. The formula was a bit tired, the headline acts uninspired, there were too few kids and the rain was more dank and depressing than ever before. But Michael Eavis immediately sought to remedy the situation. He actually listened, which is more than most festival organisers do, and announced a number of moves veering away from Glastonbury’s traditional mould such as ditching Lost Vagueness and diversifying its line up for this year, including Jay-Z. It might work, it might not, but at least let’s wait until the festival has actually happened before putting in the proverbial wellington boot.
The fuss that is being kicked up so prematurely is such an embarrassingly British reaction that it's making me want to ditch Blighty, buy my summer inter-railing ticket and tour the continent's best festivals instead; not because of better line ups, not because of warmer weather, but because European audiences seem to be far more grateful.
I'm just sick of people moaning about bloody Jay-Z. Maybe, before we start blaming a headline artist – who undoubtedly 99 per cent of the grumblers have never seen live – we should look at ourselves. Maybe the reason Glastonbury wasn’t as fun as in years gone by is that we’ve lost our perspective on how to have a great time at festivals, rain or no rain.
While ticket sales are obviously down, the idea that it’s all down to one man is ridiculous. Glastonbury is about more than headline acts and about more than the Pyramid Stage, it’s the sum of all its parts and even someone as massive as Jay-Z is a tiny cog in that wheel. And if it were the case that people were boycotting the festival because of a black American hip hop artist then what would that say about us? It can’t even be considered.
If there’s one lesson that Glastonbury can learn from this year then it’s not the complicated registration process, its not even their choice of headliners. No, if there’s one thing Glastonbury should never do again, then it’s to announce its headliners before tickets go on sale. Never before has it done so, never has it needed to do so, and maybe the biggest mistake Michael Eavis made was playing his hand too early.
In the year that Oasis bombed, Liam famously declared: “I fucking hate Glastonbury”, while mincing around the VIP arena (approximately five minutes walk from the Pyramid Stage). Like his brother, he’s in no place to fairly judge, quite simply because he doesn’t hold all the facts, all the background to make an informed and valued assessment. So don’t listen to the Gallaghers and don’t listen to the type of festival goer who should be confined to Reading and V. Listen to the heritage, spirit and magic that resonates through, and from, Glastonbury unlike any other festival, and listen to us when we tell you this year is going to be a classic.