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Member Name: thedevilinme
Date: 28/06/08, updated on 25/08/10 (212 review reads)
Glastonbury bores me, as simple as. Only Phil Jupitus in his silly hats on the TV coverage annoys me more about the event. It's supposed to be a festival where young people mingle from all social classes, yet it's the exact opposite, the proles in one small muddy field jigging around to dance music and Middle England in the other 70,000 tents, or at least it was when I went. If your tent hadn't been cleaned out of its valuables by that particular small corner then the rain would. I foolishely went expecting somesort of utopia but what I got was a load of posh people pretending to be working class for the weekend. It's the only place in the world you can be concussed by jugglers and run over by an Incumbent (those three- wheel cycles with a little flag on the back who have a toddler in the cart) at the same time!
The British class system is as rigid as ever here and the only mixing that goes on is at the legendary toilets, the human 'deposits pouring over the lid like some of the pretensions conversations I had to endure in the queues. In fact most of the people that go here, go to get away from the working class. The whole thing just felt forced, like the only dump I had there. But there's unrest in the educated classes in recent years because the likes of Jay Z and Dizzy Rascal are being booked for the festival, numbers down in 2008 because of this controversial American headliner, to the point where "Glasto" didnt sell out for the first time in 16 years by the time the gates openend that year.
Jay Z is married to Beyonce and has more Bling than Puff Daddy's bathroom on his fingers. This is not what festivals are about in the U.K. Can you imagine his back stage demands! The ethnic urban cool cats that follow 'street acts' didnt bother with the rural student fest and soa strange move for Jay Z, famously singing Wonderwall to open his set. President Barak Obama is a Jay Z fan and the crowds have a boistrous reputation in AMerica, even though its essentially popcorn rap for white American kids, most of the black guys doing the stadium rap acts as college educated as the Glastonbury crowd, as was Puff Daddy. Nothing happenend on that warm night back in 2008 (no gun fights) but clearly people stayed away to avoid that possible crowd confrentation the hype dictates. I know most kids that buy rap music are white, the ludicrous Tim Westwood testament to, but people I know said they didnt go because the thought there would be a gunfight, which was rather silly.
Because a big African-American act was there I think there was an element of racism over the bill in 2008 and posh people not wanting to go in case there are hoodies lurking around'. Ok, the bill is rank and the festival has lost its cool status with the university crowd and you feel that the desertion is coming from the suburbs rather than the inner-city crowd but middle england are not great mixers when it comes to music. The £165 cost (more than the British Grand Prix!) is also a deterrent and maybe mums are no longer rewarding kids for passing their A-levels with the coveted three day pass.
The irony of people perhaps not going because of high petrol prices will also stoke the great eco argument for the gigs justification, proudly boasting its green credentials. There were certainly a few thousand SUVs in the car park for recent years. But whatever the reason the festival is going mainstream it does looks like the end for "Glasto" as the place to be, Reading and the V Festival far groovier venues now.
The three day festival, of course, have always been a middle-class right-of-passage; the kids bright eyed, educated and aware, students and students of old wearing rags and rolling around in the mud, a cleansing for the right to have a mortgage in suburbia, then revisit twenty years later to recover their youth by smoking funny cigarettes for 72 hours, before driving home in those gas guzzling, four wheel drives. And for those reasons I didn't feel the festival was ever about everyone meeting up and getting along and enjoying the music man! It's always had a menu of college rock and angst indie and lot of these people are here only to meet there own. They feel safe there, not what music is really about at that age. The alternative in Glastonbury week is the bloody tennis, of course, a similar audience demographic ,and I suspect a difficult choice for which event to attend for Middle England that weekend.
It's not only the headlining act of rap act that's kept down ticket sales this year but the increasing booking of ironic bands like Shaking Stevens on the smaller stages and the need for picture I.D and a credit card to guarantee a ticket. The thought of 25,000 students trying to dance like Teddy boys is making my teeth itch. Promoter Michael Eves has said he is looking to get a 'younger urban crowd' in with this sea change, fans of the future, although a burnt out rockabilly doesn't really fit that quota. In fact if you look at this line up the only 'cool' act on the bill is is Amy Whinehouse, and we are all expecting some sort of publicity stunt involving her at the weekend. Great voice, that there's no doubt, but 'Rehab' was an incredibly self-indulgent and tedious piece of noise. I personally think she would faint if she ever saw a real needle.
Summary: Middle-England love in