Kanye West is headlining Glastonbury – stop whining!
I am by no means a Kanye West defender, as I feel he routinely makes himself out to be perhaps the most egotistical jerk in the entire music scene, and Bono’s not dead yet, so that’s quite an accomplishment. However, he also routinely proves himself to be one of the most creative musicians on the planet, and can pack any size venue pretty much anywhere on Earth. The fact that so many self-entitled people have taken up a petition to try and have him removed from the headlining spot of this years’ Glastonbury Festival is nothing short of hilarious, and it’s time someone delivered hard truth to these music haters.
First and foremost, festivals are not a democracy. Assuming most of the signees are British, this should be a simple concept, and the reality is that if fans actually had a say in festival headliners, the resulting bills would be both chaotic and largely underwhelming. The Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney can’t headline every year, and Blur isn’t quite finished with that new album, though they’d be a solid pick. Also, Oasis is never going to get back together, so can we have a year where that pointless rumor doesn’t surface?
Moving past the “who,” I know I am not alone in going to festivals for acts OTHER than the headliner. One of the main points of festivals is to expose concertgoers to music they’ve never heard or not spent much time with, and with the better part of 300 acts over the course of the weekend, getting up in arms that ONE of them is not to your liking is about as futile and childish as it gets. Furthermore, using last years’ ticket prices, it works out to about $1 USD per act. With that price-per-act, to have to avoid what again is one of hundreds should be a simple task, and perhaps those who hate Kanye can head home early so their mothers don’t have to stay up so late waiting to lock the door behind them.
Beyond all that, few people want to call the petition what it is: racist and closed minded. The petition is titled “Cancel Kanye West’s headline slot and get a rock band,” and yet the other announced headlining act is Foo Fighters, easily filling that request. There’s also a third headliner to be named, and given the festival’s history, it will be rock-oriented. Believe it or not, some people DO enjoy diversity in festival lineups. The brief text of the petition reads that the slot should be used on “someone deserving,” and yet one would be hard pressed to name a bigger name in the current music scene that isn’t Taylor Swift. Plus, Glastonbury history says even with a rock headliner, it won’t quell the crowds – but we’ll get to that in a bit.
The comments section of the petition brings even more clarity as to the futility and overall ignorance of the online mob, with user Matthew Corcoran stating that, “Kanye is a psychopathically narcissistic moron with messianic delusions that have rightfully earned him the passionate hatred of virtually everyone outside of his fanbase.” I have to wonder if Mr. Corcoran had the same issue when Bono and U2 headlined in 2011 or when Lars Urlrich was there with Metallica just last year. The same can also be said about Coldplay, Arcade Fire or more than half a dozen other headliners from the past decade.
Speaking of Metallica, it was just a year ago that tens of thousands of potential Glastonbury attendees were up in arms about THEM headlining, most saying they were too heavy and that James Hetfield narrating a hunting documentary made them unworthy performers. It was perhaps with this in mind that the festival organizers decided to bring only the second hip-hop headliner (Jay Z, 2008), and it once again shows that no festival will please everyone. Again, you can’t please everyone, and recent history says regardless of the headliner, people will whine en masse.
In short, those calling for the ousting of Kanye West represent everything wrong with the current music scene and are as far from the true meaning of “music fan” as possible. Taking to the internet in some sort of sonic crusade is not only a waste of time, but makes the populous look far more closed-minded than it actually is. Thankfully there are two choices for those bothered by one of the biggest acts in the world headlining a festival with hundreds of other acts: don’t buy a ticket or shut your mouth.