A widely-discussed Change.org petition launched after Kanye West was announced as a headliner at Glastonbury Festival. The petition is titled “Cancel Kanye West’s headline slot and get a rock band.” It currently has 126,509 signatures, and is steadily gaining more.
The other two acts that have been announced for Glastonbury are Foo Fighters and Lionel Richie. I’m surprised there isn’t outrage over the Foo Fighters’ headlining slot.
Ronnie Wood of the family-friendly-band the Rolling Stones brought his incredible wisdom to the debate. Glastonbury is all about artists that don’t swear!
According to the Mirror, Wood said:
“Glastonbury is the home of rock music and, look, Kanye isn’t rock. He’s a great entertainer and he knows how to captivate an audience with all his swearing, but when it comes to what that festival is about, it’s the wrong choice.”
“People who go there for rock music are starting to get very angry about all these rappers and R’n’B singers taking over.”
Let’s not forget that the Rolling Stones were heavily influenced by American R&B early on. According to Mick Jagger: The Story Behind the Rolling Stone, Jagger said early R&B artists were “the most real thing” he had heard.
Glastonbury isn’t going to idly sit by and take all this criticism. Co-organizer Emily Eavis wrote a response for The Guardian:
To say that our headliners should be “rock” is, I think, a bit silly. Those acts never have been limited to rock, and they never will be. Stevie Wonder, the Prodigy, Curtis Mayfield, the Chemical Brothers, Jay Z, Gorillaz, Beyoncé and plenty of others prove that.”
“I’ve seen people this week saying that Kanye shouldn’t appear because, in their opinion, he’s not a positive role model or because they think he’s too self-assured. We book our acts by choosing the best and most challenging musicians on the planet – not by applying some kind of arbitrary morality test.
But I would also remind people that this 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?
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.
Clearly, the petition has given sections of the worldwide media a pretext upon which to hang a negative Kanye story. But I’m told that there were only four more requests for ticket refunds on the day after we announced Kanye’s performance than there had been the previous Tuesday. The overwhelming majority of our 135,000 ticket-holders are clearly not too concerned by that particular two-hour slot on one of the 100 stages at our five-day event.
Our message to the man who started the petition is that like any other ticket-holder, he is very welcome to get a refund. But better still, come to the festival and open your mind to some wonderful music and performances from all corners of the world. We work year-round with the goal of making the event as good as it can be. Hopefully, once you’ve been to the festival, you’ll be more willing to give us the benefit of any doubt.
Nina Ulloa covers breaking news, tech, and more: @nine_u
Photo via David Shankbone on Wikipedia used with Creative Commons 3.0 License