With more and more artists being slandered on the big festival stages, the debate arises on whether it is truly correct to give stars a bad treatment at an event which is supposed to be a celebration of music. Last year, the debate was sparked off yet again when Beyoncé hit the headliner slot at Glastonbury. Whilst she may have dazzled the crowd with her ‘bootylicious’ moves and glimmering costume changes, true Glastonbury fanatics suggested that it was both irrelevant and inappropriate for her to be gracing the stage. But does not having won 16 Grammy awards and being the most sold female artist of the past decade not earn you that accolade? Some may argue that festivals are there to commemorate a specific niche within the music industry and that there is always a time and place for artists to get recognised. That granted and approved of, this opens up the much larger argument about whether festivals are becoming too niche for their own good.
Don’t get me wrong, obviously the line-up at ‘Party in the Park’ is going to vastly differ from that of ‘Download’, but when dealing with an eclectic event such as Glastonbury, every star has just as much right to hit the stage doing what they do best, regardless of what genre they fit into. On one end of the spectrum, the Bath International Music Festival has recently announced that they will be putting on hip hop and pop events in order to open up to a younger audience. Panel member Councillor Colin Darracott stated: ‘I do confess, I have in the past been vocal in trying to justify it to myself that more than £300,000 a year of tax was going to what seemed to be somewhat elitist event.’ There have been further attempts by other event organisers recently to suggest that many want to shrug off the ‘elite tag’ that has been placed by cynics in recent years. However, there is also the recognition that there is a point to where organisers can go; you will never be able to change the mentality of the baying crowds who will boo and hiss to acts they don’t approve of. My own experiences of ‘Panic at the Disco’ getting bottled off the Leeds Festival Stage still remains a mystery. The piss stains on my T-shirt not so much.
Only time will tell on whether music festivals will continue this trend, but surely the likes of Beyoncé and Lady Gaga will not refrain from trying to appease the mass crowds, immovable in the mud and wanting to hear those all-important guitar riffs. All that said however, there is simply no denying it. Whoever thought it was a good idea to put ‘Daphne and Celeste’ on the main stage at Reading should really be shot. No, seriously.