Once again some fans of England’s famed Glastonbury Festival are up in arms that a hip-hop act has been tapped to headline the wildly popular five-day event.
Though Kanye West may currently be one of the most famous music artists in the world, there are some who loathe the thought of the “All Day” rapper serving as a headliner for the usually rock and pop filled festival.
“Kanye West is an insult to music fans all over the world,” said Neil Lonsdale, whose Change.org petition to have West removed from the festival lineup has amassed over 100,000 signatures. “We spend hundreds of pounds to attend Glasto, and by doing so, expect a certain level of entertainment. Kanye has been very outspoken on his views on music … he should listen to his own advice and pass his headline slot on to someone deserving. Two years ago we had The Rolling Stones playing Saturday night, and this year we get Kanye West?”
Lonsdale said he originally did the petition as a joke and that he has no issues with hip-hop as a genre, just it being given an headlining slot.
In 2008, some fans and rock artists such as Oasis’ Noel Gallagher made a fuss that Jay Z was chosen to be one of the headliners of the traditionally “guitar-driven” fest. Jay Z famously began his set at that year’s show by snidely strumming a guitar to the tune of Oasis’ classic song, “Wonderwall,” much to the delight of the enthusiastic crowd before launching into his well-received set.
For all the backlash surrounding West’s appearance, festival organizer Emily Eavis says she is thrilled about his impending performance and has absolutely no regrets on booking him:
“The Glastonbury Festival of contemporary performing arts is the full name of our festival, and my dad and I love doing what we do: working with great, creative people and being able to curate so much music, art, theatre and circus, not to mention the political and green debate. It’s important to point out that the signatories of the petition are not limited to ticket holders. From what we can see, an awful lot of them aren’t even from the UK. Even the originator of the petition admits that he has never actually been to the festival. I would also remind people that this is a man who made a version of a worldwide hit single which highlighted the social issues that conflict diamonds cause in West Africa. And wouldn’t you have a bit of a spring in your step if you’d won 21 Grammys? Ultimately, there is no question in my mind that we have got one of the greatest artists of his generation headlining, and we have no regrets at all about booking him. As the late, great Glastonbury regular Lou Reed said about Kanye: ‘The guy really, really, really is talented. He’s really trying to raise the bar. No one’s near doing what he’s doing, it’s not even on the same planet.’
“And we’ve got him coming to our farm! In rural Somerset! That’s great, right? I certainly can’t wait to see his performance,” she said.
The Glastonbury Festival runs from June 24-28 in Somerset, England.