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June 28th, 2008 · Posted by Skuds in Music · 1 Comment · Music

I have never been to Glastonbury, but I shan’t let that stop me having an opinion about the controversy that Noel Gallagher kicked off regarding Jay-Z headlining the festival.  Unsurprisingly, I can’t see anything wrong with it, not that I was terribly excited by seeing his name on the bill.

While I like rap and hip hop I really don’t know anything about Jay-Z.  I can only name two of his songs: Hard Knock Life, which I didn’t like, and 99 Problems which I did like.   If I was going to the festival and there had been no fuss about Jay-Z I would have either gone to a different stage if there was someone I wanted to see, or decided to see Jay-Z anyway purely because I don’t know anything about him.  I might even be influenced by having really enjoyed seeing Snoop Dogg live in the past.

Noel Gallagher said:

Glastonbury has a tradition of guitar music and even when they throw the odd curve ball 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.

here are a few reasons why he is wrong.  Firstly, Glastonbury does have a tradition of guitar music, but it also has a tradition of having plenty of exceptions, especially in recent years, with acts like Shirley Bassey, Leftfield, Goldie Lookin’ Chain, Basement Jaxx, Groove Armada, Orbital, Sister Sledge, De La Soul, Ozomatli, Chemical Brothers, Pet Shop Boys, Yothu Yindi, The Orb and the Prodigy – and that’s without all the many dance, ‘world’, folk and other artists on the smaller stages.

And what does ‘guitar music’ mean anyway?  I suspect that Gallagher’s definition is not just anything with a guitar.  Joan Baez, Donovan, UB40, Aswad, Scissor Sisters all feature guitars but you wouldn’t really call them guitar music.

How can hip-hop be just ‘wrong’?  In the past the festival has had de La Soul, Cypress Hill, Fun Loving Criminals (I think) and Black Eyed Peas : the world didn’t stop spinning.

Most importantly, surely its good to have some sort of variety, and even to have artists you don’t particularly like playing at such a festival.  How crappy would it be if you kept having bands you really like clashing with each other?  I would hate to go to a festival where, for example,  Metallica and Primus were both playing at the same time and I had to choose to miss one of them.

That is the reason why I refuse to believe that punters have been staying away just because Jay-Z is on the bill.  Nobody likes everything.  When Glasto was over-subscribed every single person with a ticket probably had a long list of artists on the bill that they couldn’t stand, but they still went.  Is there anyone really thinking they would like to go but won’t because of one rapper who is playing at the same time as at least a dozen other choices?

If people were staying away in their droves isn’t it more likely to be because they got soaked through in 2007 and 2005, have only just dried out and decided give it a rest?

I would happily go along to see Crowded House, Manu Chao, The Futureheads, The Ting Tings, Reverend and the Makers, CSS and all the rest even if the headline act was Baroness Thatcher reading from Jeffrey Archer short stories – because I know I could just go to the Jazz World stage and avoid her, and I think the rest of the public is just as aware that they have a choice.

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One Comment so far ↓

  • skud's sister

    Although you would hang around backstage in the hope that she would go over arse over tit into a big cowpat. Or is that just me?