The End of Glastonbury
Glastonbury is largely considered the mother of all music festivals, with legendary greats and the best big sound rock acts known to man performing on stage. This was broken a while back when Jay Z performed, much to the anger of the establishment, however, he did manage to give a good account of himself.
So its at this level of stature we look at Glastonbury, not the same as one of the many others that have popped up over the years. This year more than any other, makes me feel that the end is finally here for Glastonbury. Yes I know it will carry on and I know thousands of people will be brainwashed in to buying tickets. Yes it will be aired live on TV, radio, the internet and probably via osmosis but for me, its place as the pinnacle is over.
Its the very commercialisation of what was once a genuine and credible festival that in part is at the heart of its downfall. Being from the West Country, I used to go when I was younger. A few hippies, those in the know and the start of a slowly expanding public would attend. Some great acts played and some cool up and coming talent got the chance to play to a big crowd.
Nowadays Glastonbury is just another pop festival. The Who did OK on Sunday night, but lets be honest, they are a little dated now. They don’t quite hit the heights of their heyday. Of the other headliners? Well poor old Florence and the Machine, bless them, thrust in to the limelight of headlining after the Foo Fighters had to back out (Ed – I wouldn’t break a bone to stop myself having to perform there), were never really a full replacement. The set was good, with Florence knocking her hits out of the park. Good vocal delivery with a strong backing from a talented band. But lets be honest, she is not a huge festival headliner.
Then we come to Kanye West. Now this man never suffers from issues of insecurity or under-confidence. He has Michael Jackson level platitudes that he has given himself. Much like Jay Z before, the announcement of his billing as headliner was met with some derision. But, thanks to trailblazing Mr Carter, it wasn’t as harsh for Kanye. So the stage is set for the man to belt out some hits, inject a couple of new tracks in for good measure. Boom a great Hip Hop set, devilled safely and he gets to go home with no criticism. Easy?
Well it might have been easy if thats what Kanye had attempted. However, the man branded himself the greatest Rock n Roll legend alive (or words to that effect), which kind of irks. He spent over an hour on crappy self indulgent tosh. His use of the auto-tuner made will.i.am sound positively acoustic and the amount of crappy ballads – kill me now.
A lot of press has been criticising the invasion by Lee Nelson, but for me, that was the highlight. Kanye was visibly put out of his stride as Nelson managed to not only invade the stage but take part in the performance, like a Poundland Eminem. He was quickly bundled off stage and Kanye tried to continue. He couldn’t and started the track all over again. I had hoped it would have annoyed him so much that he would have stopped there. Sadly not. Luckily though, his playlist could be reversed back to the start of the track. We didn’t have to go back to the start of the set and put up with his crap. However his biggest crime was the complete homicide of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. Kanye should be locked up for that.
For a festival that is meant to be looked up to all three headliners were disappointing and part of me had wished I was at the PRIDE event to watch what I understand was a thrilling and slightly raunchy set by Rita Ora (just kidding).
There were some highlights of the weekend though. Lionel Ritchie was the star for me. He just oozed class and talent from every pore of his body. He belted out hit after hit and really engaged with the crowd. For all the energy that Kanye failed to display, veteran Lionel Ritchie delivered. The man is a genius and I swear, you need to go and see him play if you have a chance. You just hear the passion and soul that this man has. The definite highlight for me.
Other highlights included the infectious Pharrell, Wolf Alice and unknowns to me The Burning Hell. So despite the few highlights, there wasn’t enough to make me feel that Glastonbury is the greatest embodiment of music anymore. Sorry but for me that was the final nail in the coffin for Glastonbury as the mother of all festivals. RIP Glasto.