Glastonbury gets stuck in the mud
An attempt to appeal to younger festival goers has produced a bizarre line-up, says Johnny Dee
The announcement that this year's Glastonbury Festival line-up will include a Welsh Elvis (Shakin' Stevens), the most despised man in pop (James Blunt) and the godfather of misery (Leonard Cohen), has been greeted with a groundswell of disenchantment. For the first time in a decade, Britain's biggest music festival is struggling to sell out.
Michael Eavis, Glastonbury's 73-year-old founder, has blamed the weather and has suggested that having Jay-Z as the Saturday night headliner has put people off. Are British people so scared of rain and gangsta rappers? I doubt it.
The real reasons are more likely to be the rising cost of attending the event, the hassle of having to organise photo ID months in advance, last year's poor sound system and growing competition. There are now dozens of summer festivals - most far cheaper than Glastonbury, with equally eclectic attractions and nearly all laying claim to the 'outsider' status it has now lost.
Last summer Eavis, in response to an NME story moaning about the older demographic of the festival, said he wanted to make it appeal to 'youngsters' and was planning on manipulating admissions so that over half the audience was under 25. How then are we to explain this year's Pyramid Stage bill which not only includes acts only a tone-deaf grandmother could love in Blunt and the less than sing-along Cohen, but also Gilbert O'Sullivan and Shaky?
If the bookers are playing some kind of ironic joke it's not a good one. Can anyone under 50 actually name a Gilbert O'Sullivan song? What a great way to appeal to those youngsters. And well done for alienating more mature festival goers in the process.
Thankfully it's the spirit and the people - a great many of them over 25 - that make Glastonbury such a fantastic life-affirming experience. The music makes little difference - though a little sunshine would help. ·
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