Thursday, July 3, 2008

Jigga What? Jay-Z headlines Glastonbury 2008.

The Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts, or Glasto, went off last weekend, as it has done during the final weekend in June since the start of the festival in the seventies. Founded by Michael Eavis, and run with his wife and now his daughter, the festival has grown from a rural weekend headlined by T.Rex (the festival’s first headlining act in 1970, when it was known as the Pilton Festival) with 1,500 people in the crowd to the largest festival on the planet. Last year all 137,500 tickets available sold in around two hours, the capacity of the sold out event was 177,000 people, and over 700 acts preformed on more than 80 stages during the 3 day event. Just for some comparison, more people went to the festival in 2007 than live in Providence, Rhode Island. (Or Tempe, Arizona or Dayton, Ohio, etc etc.)

Drama flared up in April when two-time headliner Noel Gallagher (2004 & 1995) of Oasis ran his mouth to the BBC. In a rant that sounds like the equivalent of skiers not wanting to share the mountain with snowboarders during the early days of Burton and snowboarding, Gallagher stated that having a hip-hop act headlining the festival was "wrong." While he was at it, Gallagher also said that, “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.” Well, while Noel might not be ready for hip-hop at Glastonbury lots of other people are and I think somebody should let him know that nobody gives a damn what he's ready for. Gallagher even went so far as to cite the lapse in 2008 ticket sales as evidence that he wasn’t the only one who felt that having Jay-Z preform was out of place. Lucky for us, festival founder Michael Eavis had Jigga's back and even came forward to dispute the claim, attributing the lapse in instantaneous ticket sales to a long run of poor weather conditions during years past and the global economic downturn. Jay-Z didn’t respond to Gallagher’s comments very much before the festival, but check out how he opened his set:

Also, in an interview with Westwood at Glastonbury before he went on, Jay called headlining at Glastonbury a "special moment in time" and was visibly excited to be at the festival. For an artist that’s been everywhere and done just about everything this was obviously an opportunity that he appeared to greatly cherish. Check out some clips of his set on YouTube or find it all in one place on the lostgirl's blog, but either way you should get the set here. It looks insane and Jay-Z was clearly putting his all into it. In other Glastonbury news, Amy Winehouse spit her gum at some fans and even threw an elbow (I don't really care anymore but once upon a time I did). All in all it looked like a tremendous time. I might have to find my way to Somerset, England and check it out sometime.


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