It looks as though someone is actually in Kanye West’s corner when it comes to his headliner spot during this year’s Glastonbury Festival.
Published to The Guardian, Emily Eavis — organizer and daughter of Glastonbury’s founder Michael Eavis — has penned an open letter to those petitioning to remove Kanye from this year’s lineup.
Currently, the petition has received over 125,000 signatures 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,” Emily Eavis says. “He has agreed to play a festival where headliners get paid a fraction of their normal rate in support of Oxfam, Water Aid and Greenpeace as well as thousands of other worthy causes. We think that’s pretty great.
“To say that our headliners should be ‘rock’ is, I think, a bit silly,” Eavis continues. “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.”
Later in the letter, Eavis affirmed her stance that Kanye is right for Glastonbury, adding that she can’t wait to see him hit the stage.
“Ultimately, there is no question in my mind that we have got one of the greatest artists of his generation headlining, and we have no regrets at all about booking him,” Eavis adds. “As the late, great Glastonbury regular Lou Reed said about Kanye: ‘The guy really, really, really is talented. He’s really trying to raise the bar. No one’s near doing what he’s doing, it’s not even on the same planet.’ And we’ve got him coming to our farm! In rural Somerset! That’s great, right? I certainly can’t wait to see his performance.”
— Emily Eavis (@emilyeavis) March 17, 2015
You can read the full letter here.
In light of the whole Kanye West-Glastonbury saga, here’s a timeline of other acts who received similar treatment from the seemingly insatiable Glasto crowd.
2014 – Metallica
When Metallica were announced for Glastonbury last year, again, fans of the festival weren’t pleased. They were the first metal act to headline the festival since its 1970 inception and they definitely won over some concertgoers that night. Despite the initial criticism pointed at the quartet, the Los Angeles heavy metal band were the ones having the last laugh after an impressive performance.
2008 – Jay Z
2008 was the first time a rap artist was recruited as the headlining act of the prestigious Saturday night show. Not long after it was announced, Oasis’ Noel Gallagher spoke to the BBC to criticize Jay Z and hip-hop’s appearance at the festival, citing the genre’s involvement as the primary reason why the festival’s ticket sales had slumped.
“If you start to break [tradition] then people aren’t going to go,” Gallagher said at the time. “I’m sorry, but Jay-Z? No chance. 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.”
1984 – The Smiths
Later likened by the festival’s organizers as “as controversial as Jay Z’s headlining performance,” The Smiths rocked the Glastonbury stage in 1984, after much criticism of their recruitment. The rock band’s guitarist, Johnny Marr even admitted they were “slightly out of our element” when they first took the stage.
“We think that Jay Z was controversial but The Smiths was so controversial on the same level in 1984,” current festival organizer Emily Eavis said.
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