All entries for July 2008

July 06, 2008

Glastonbury Part 1 & last word on Jay Z

I’m not doing a big Glasto diary this year, partly because only about two people read all 9000 words of the last one (and one of them was with me for half of it) and partly as there are less weird and interesting anecdotes from this year (although I rescued a drunk lost girl and was shamelessly flirted with by one of the Greenpeace chuggers) so it’d be a bit dry. So I’m going to write a few pieces on different aspects of the festival.

First, my Glasto ‘to do’ list – the things I managed this year, and the things I still have to cross out:

Done in 2008:
Never eat from the same food stall twice: This doesn’t include drinks of course – couldn’t manage without a daily milkshake and Brothers Cider. Managed the food fairly easily this year, had some interesting things like Ostrich Steak and Buffalo Burger, some unwise things like curry nachos (lovely at the time, not so good the following morning…) and some very nice ice cream. I hugely suggest doing this, there’s so many food stalls at Glasto and they do really nice stuff, it pays to experiment. The only downside was it took me until the last night to find some vegetable Tempura which was everywhere last year. Deep fried vegetables. It’s like the slightly healthier Japanese kebab.

Buy a hat: I have a nice new hat

Still to do:
Watch the sunrise at the stone circle: Need someone else crazy enough to stay up. Although all reports say it was a bit muted up there this year.

Have a shower: I nearly did this year when I walked past on the Thursday afternoon (after a boiling hot day) and saw there was barely any queue, but realised I didn’t have my towel with me. And then every time I wondered past after then the queue was massive.

Find the stone dragon: Seriously. There’s a stone dragon somewhere.

Perform: One day I will tell jokes to people on stage at Glastonbury.

Get naked: Not really.

Now: Jay Z
I only caught 10 minutes of it myself, as I was curious as to how many people turned up. It wasn’t near as busy as it was for McCartney a few years back but there were plenty there (probably than for Leonard Cohen, you nutters).
Anyways, watch the first 30 seconds of this video interview with Michael Eavis (the rest is worth watching as Eavis is totally pissed).

“We didn’t have a traditional headliner… they were all out doing something else.”

That’s the most important thing you’ll hear. Because the reason people were upset with Jay Z headlining was because they assumed that he was chosen in favour of REM or Radiohead or Prince or Coldplay when the truth is, they couldn’t play anyway. There was never a big-name rock headliner in the running. Had we not had Jay Z we’d have got The Arcade Fire or Doves or Keane or some other such band.

Obviously some people would prefer them but they’re not really world-famous acts. The collective media response would likely have been a shrug rather than a furore and they’d probably have sold even fewer tickets. Instead Eavis took the risk of booking a mega-star outside the traditional Glasto-genre rather than a marginal act that does fit (oh and there’s been plenty of hip-hop on the Jazz World stage for years so that “doesn’t belong at Glasto” stuff is bollocks).

People reacted against the idea of Jay Z as they felt Jay Z was usurping a slot for someone they’d rather see. That he was stealing the budget that would otherwise be spent on a mega-famous rock act. He wasn’t. There was no alternative. So even though I wondered off after ten minutes to go watch Jim Bob at the Leftfield, anyone criticising Jay Z being there is just daft.


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