Glastonbury has announced a large amount of new acts to its lineup for 2016 and it has created the usual reaction of hype, hatred and discussion. Featuring artists from across the globe, decades and genres including Foals, Beck, Sigur Ros, PJ Harvey, ELO and many more you cannot debate Glastonbury’s dedication to diversity and inclusion. It is also a festival known to champion upcoming British talent with the likes of Lapsley, Blossoms, Little Simz and many more likely to be performing to the largest crowds of their respective careers.
Within all of this positive praise and excitement, the safety of 2016’s headline artists becomes even more prominent as each one sits stationery in the centre of the lineup page in a similar manner to their prominence on the UK charts over the last twelve months. Friday will be brought to a close by Devon alternative/rock trio Muse who will now have headlined every night on the Pyramid. A band that has been struggling with a crisis of identity over their past two records, the overly confused ‘2nd Law’ and the incredibly anti-climatic ‘Drones’ of 2015; the band boldly claimed was their strongest body of work to date. Tracks from the album that scooped a Grammy entirely undetected by British media are likely to go down like a cup of cold sick before the band returns to the pyrotechnic safety of ‘Blackholes & Revelations’ which is now a decade old.
Saturday night will be headlined by St. Adele Adkins, a booking as obvious as Adele headlining her own tour. Nobody can deny the global domination of ’25’ and now that Glastonbury has such a lucrative television deal with the BBC, I fear the Eavis family had no option with this booking despite their apparent enthusiasm to have the heartbroken heroin atop the Pyramid. Undoubtedly one of the finest vocalists produced by the UK in many years, I do not debate Adele’s credibility yet she opposes the very fundamentals of Glastonbury. An event with history rooted in the free festival movement, it feels sacrilegious to place the highest earning British artist at the top of its bill. Other than that one guy who drops an acid tab during ‘Someone Like You’, there will be no moment within Adele’s entire set that encourages the complete release of hedonistic festival energy that only exists in this special, sacred ground.
Coldplay, the worst booking of the entire weekend. Topping the bill for an ashamed fourth time, Chris Martin and his merry men will bring their lacklustre performance style, vocal and discography to the Sunday evening extravaganza. There will be huge lighting displays, coloured confetti and rainbow visuals all attempting to divert the crowd’s attention from the inarguably weak melodies of new single ‘Hymn For the Weekend’ and almost everything else released since ‘X & Y’. Lets hope as Chris is floundering, attempting one more crucible chorus of ‘Magic’ the ground shaking, soul moving synth of New Order’s ‘Blue Monday’ cuts through the farm and draws the masses away from the shambolic Pyramid performance.
I understand that Glastonbury now has a duty to place not only the biggest acts in the world but the biggest earning acts in the world at the top of its largest stage due to sponsorship, television and radio pressure. However in an incredibly oversaturated marketplace where competitors such as Latitude, Bestival and Wilderness are placing the likes of The Cure, New Order, Björk, Alt J, Foals, The Maccabees and many others atop its main stages to rapturous reception, Glastonbury is in danger of ostracising the people who share the beliefs of its founders.