Do you remember when Jay-Z was announced as a headliner for Glastonbury 2008?
Sure you do.
This is how Noel Gallagher reacted to the decision to have one of the biggest selling and most influential acts in music appear at a music festival…
“If you start to break it then people aren’t going to go. I’m sorry, but Jay-Z? No chance.”
According to Gallagher including a hip-hop artist was “breaking” Glastonbury.
It’s the same attitude that saw Daphne and Celeste pelted with bottles filled with urine at Reading 2000.
Incidents like this reveal something quite ugly about the people involved.
In the case of Gallagher it revealed a narrow and insular attitude towards music…for him the idea of a hip-hop artist, or any artist without a guitar, was an act of cultural vandalism. He went on to say;
“Glastonbury has a tradition of guitar music and even when they throw the odd curveball in on a Sunday night you go ‘Kylie Minogue?’ I don’t know about it. But I’m not having hip-hop at Glastonbury. It’s wrong.”
One can only wonder how the musicians he so adores had held the same sorts of opinions…The Beatles without the influence of Asian musicians anyone?
The same thoughts about who belongs and who doesn’t belong at a music festival were held by the morons and boors who threw things at Daphne and Celeste. Two young women singing gloriously catchy and often silly pop songs…subjected to a torrent of abuse and the prospect of physical harm.
“It’s wrong” that they were there you see.
If they had just stayed where they belonged then it wouldn’t have happened.
If Jay-Z just played at some sort of hip-hop Glastonbury that would be fine.
It’s cultural ghettoisation.
A similar sort of response has greeted this years Glastonbury line-up.
Wu Tang Clan!!!!!
Except it’s not wrong is it?
Janet Jackson is one of the biggest selling artists of all time…a legend.
Stormzy is one of the most important UK artists of the last 20 years…full of righteous rage, fire and fury.
The Killers are masters of stadium friendly anthems…a band with enough massive hits to fill a “Now…” compilation on their own.
Miley Cyrus is one of the best contemporary pop acts around…she is funny, witty, knowing and generally ace.
Wu Tang Clan are a legendary force in rap/hip-hop…drawing on a range of pop culture references to create music that can slay you with a single beat.
Sigrid is just plain wonderful…her latest album is a strong contender for one of the albums of the year already.
Notice anything about these acts?
Not enough guitars.
It isn’t a good thing for people to live in cultural (pop cultural) ghettos.
A music festival like Glastonbury has a chance to expand your cultural capacity.
Besides if you are looking for something a little more niche it isn’t like you can’t find it…I love Britpop and so I will be attending the magnificent Star Shaped festival later this year. You like indie music more generally? Great, get yourself along to Shiiine. You can get what you want.
Bleating about how the line-up for Glastonbury doesn’t match your personal tastes or how it was better in 1995 or 1979 or 2001 puts you in the same bracket as Noel Gallagher…and while Noel is quite the song writer he was wrong about Jay-Z just as much as the nasty little beasts who pelted D&C were wrong.