Glastonbury speaks out on Kanye petition

Emily Eavis has taken the unusual step of blogging in response to the online petition recently launched against Kanye West’s booking as Glastonbury 2015’s Saturday headliner, which has received more than 100,000 virtual signatures.

Acknowledging a policy of eschewing comment on such matters of opinion, she said she had felt compelled to respond to this because of the scale of international news coverage.

The festival organiser said in her post for Guardian online: “We think the story this year should not be: “Why is Kanye coming?” but: “How amazing is it that Kanye is coming?” One of the world’s biggest superstars and a music legend, always interesting, never boring. He has agreed to play a festival where headliners get paid a fraction of their normal rate.”

The petition, on, read: “Kanye West is an insult to music fans all over the world. 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! Lets prevent this musical injustice now!”

Eavis went on to admit she had been moved to “question the dark underbelly of the web”, adding “Who are those people silently shouting in disgust, throwing out threats from behind their screens?”

Neil Lonsdale, who originated the campaign, told NME: “Glastonbury is an institution. It is expected that it has the biggest names. The biggest performers. Kanye does not represent that,” going on to exclaim “Two years ago we had The Rolling Stones playing the Saturday night, and this year we get Kanye West? It’s an outrage!” before admitting he’d never actually been to the festival.

Meanwhile, just four of the 135,000 ticket-holders asked for refunds following the headliner announcement, while wags have countered the petition with another demanding organisers ‘Cancel all acts at Glastonbury other than Kanye West’.

While Kanye West (unquestionably big enough to merit the headline slot) is probably of interest to more music-lovers that ‘heritage’ rock acts like the Stones anyway, savvy ticket holders who don’t particularly enjoy his music are already sighing with relief at the prospect of one less heartrending programme clash.

It is a bit dispiriting, though, that we have to have this dubious outcry every time a black American hip-hop star tops the bill, when what makes Glastonbury so uniquely wonderful among festivals is it’s joyful all-inclusiveness.

We’re with Micheal Eavis, photographed recently holding up a banner reading “Yeezy does it!”


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