Glastonbury was never in the same league as Woodstock or Monterey Pop. It was however, a festival which, with its juxtaposed atmosphere of open green country and electric guitars, became a British staple for Indie Rock lovers and left-wing hippies. Even though the festival began with Glam Rock, it grew into a show which embraced all forms of alternative music from Punk, Rock, Dance, to Soul. Performers ranged from The Cure to Black Uhuru, from Curtis Mayfield to Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine. For over two decades, Glastonbury successfully maintained this almost-alternative and friendly-subversive appearance by selectively choosing appropriate acts which appealed to the dread-locked, backpacked audience.
In the last decade or so, starting somewhere in the mid-noughties, this all changed. Glastonbury Festival is now a bloated, cater-to-all, Pop music-enticing, pile of confused shite. Years of booking anything and everything from Adele, Shirley Bassey, to Jay-Z, has corrupted a festival intended for the alternative, and placed it smack-bang in the realms of popular culture. Even though this year’s Glastonbury sponsors are green charity types, the groups and singers (or what passes for singers) are the complete antithesis of Greenpeace, Oxfam, and WaterAid. I’m not against modern-day acts from performing at Glastonbury, but Instead of moving with the times and attempting to book the present day equivalent to past greats (like maybe Dead Prez) the organisers instead see fit to book Example… whoop-dee-fuck. The only thing green this year is Professor Green.
With the ticket price soaring from the original £1 to an eye-watering £205 this year, the regulars have almost been priced out. You’re more likely to see a Gucci handbag than a Rucksack from Millets these days. No more Volkswagen Type 2 Campervans, only Range Rovers and BMW’s.
Like every other product or idea in history which begins small and understated, as soon as the whiff of money hits the air, the pulverising fist of business beats down on it, grabs the very heart and soul of the product, and proceeds to fist the life out of it. If this current rate of transformation follows into the future, a decade or so from now, they’ll probably have paved over the mud, banned the working-class, invited A$AP Rocky and Machine Gun Kelly for a retrospective, and be sponsored by Dolce & Gabbana.