It's not big and it's not clever

U2, the most pretentious band in the universe, is going to headline at Glastonbury, the most pretentious festival in the galaxy. Michael Eavis' version goes:

At last the biggest band in the world is going to do the best festival in the world.  

Well Michael, this is my take on the event. Your festival is good, efficient, eclectic and organised. In fact, it is everything a festival should not be. In fact, Glastonbury is the Marks and Spencer of festivals - good quality, easy on the eye, universally respected and consistent. These days, they even have ATMs. I have chatted to people who have headlined at the Isle of Wight, and turned down Woodstock and the story is that these events were utter chaos. And yet, the iconic festivals, the ones you remember forever, always were chaos. Young Weasel (who by the way is now safely back from Nepal, after being held hostage by local insurgents) goes to a lot of festivals - Womad, Dour in Belgium and a lot of very green, alternative and possibly quite smelly little festivals that neither you nor I will have heard of, but that are at the hypocentre of soulful, real, believable music. He has done them all, including Glasto, and it is obvious that he prefers the little crazy festivals, packed with artisans and musical journeymen who are there because they are committed to the music, not the money.


So what is wrong with Bono and band headlining at Glasto? Let me say, U2 are great. They are justifiably at the top of their game. I just cannot help feeling that the whole schtick somehow eclipses the heart of rock and roll.

4 comments:

Ed P said...

U2 great? I don't think so - they're the most pretentious and egotistic bunch of frotteurs in the world! But Mr Eavis is a good man and runs a very good festival - it has to be well-organised for 120000+ people, unlike the little gatherings of which you speak.

Aye We Can ! said...

the public gets what the public wants....sadly!

bonio said...

U2 were ok about 20 years ago. "Under a blood red sky" etc.
But they're now a caricature of an ageing rock band and don't realise it.
Tax exiles in the Netherlands yet demanding that taxpayers in Ireland etc pay more to help the third world ( well they won't be affected ).
Or doing a concert in Berlin to celebrate the collapse of the Berlin Wall while hiding behind a wall themselves to stop people sneaking in.
A bit like their friend Sting who has similar views yet sups with the Karimovs in Uzbhekistan. A country with a one family state and the opposition are imprisoned and tortured and killed. Boiling alive being a speciality.
His aid concert was a sell out there. $2,000 dollars a ticket in a country where the average pay is $100 a month. Mmm I wonder who went to the show ?

Dave said...

Glasto went mainstream when the BBC made it a cornerstone of their music output. It's just like the proms now. Organised, safe & predictable. When I lived in Somerset back in the 80s there would be a steady stream of alternative lifestyle folk with their ramshackle vehicles, some petrol, some horsedrawn, wending their way on their annual pilgrimage to Pilton. Everything's so controlled now, and so expensive, that I doubt our alternative lifestyle friends could get hold of a ticket or get past the security.
Glasto has all the danger and thrills of Alton Towers. Festival Lite.
It wasn't until I watched Neil Young's performance this year that I realised how far it had fallen.