Glastonbury Jay-Z flop a wake-up call to festivals everywhere

I quite liked Jay-Z’s Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem) when it was riding high in the charts ten years ago, but I don’t think I could make it through a whole ninety minutes (or whatever headliners at Glastonbury do). Eighteen hits is a decent total, but with many collaborations with people who won’t be there you get the feeling he might struggle. So I’m not surprised he’s failed to sell out as expected.

Michael Eavis blaming mud is rather silly, as that’s not held anyone back before, but it’s not all down to a mediocre headliner.

The torturous and invasive ticket system must shoulder much of the blame along with a failure to announce the full line-up until 1 May, by which time the event is expected to have sold out.

Hopefully, Jay-Z’s flop will act as a wake-up call to all festival organisers: not even the big one can take a full house for granted.

(It’s interesting to note that only coach and camping packages are available to my festival of choice, V, where the line-up is looking pretty strong.)

3 thoughts on “Glastonbury Jay-Z flop a wake-up call to festivals everywhere

  1. You can’t really blame the ticketing system any more than you can blame the mud – because they used the same ticketing system last year and it sold out in under 2 hours.

    Even if a lot of people thought it was a lot of hassle last year with no guarantee of a ticket , when they heard there were still tickets they’d have surely dived in.

    You can’t really blame them not announcing the full lineup until May either, most years they don’t even announce the headliners until after the tickets have sold on 1st June.

    Personally I think there are several contributory factors – but the main one is the current music scene.

    In 2004/5 there was an explosion of new guitar bands like The Killers and the Kaiser Chiefs that appealed to a lot of the kind of people who go to Glastonbury. At the moment these kind of bands are looking a bit tired and there isn’t really a lot around in terms of new big acts that are obvious Glastonbury acts.

    If someone is passionate about at least some of the bands on the bill then they will put up with rain, mud, complicated ticketing and so on.

    Jay-Z fits in with the diverse music policy, but announcing him as a headliner was only ever going to put off some of the audience, and fail to attract new people because the other bands on the bill are normal Glastonbury fare – people aren’t going to camp all weekend just to see Jay-Z when they can see him without camping in London.

    That said, I wouldn’t call it a flop all together. Selling 100,000 tickets in a day isn’t bad (that’s about the size of T in the park reading and leeds combined!)

  2. I have to disagree. I really doubt that the fact Jay-Z is headlining has much to do with the poor ticket sales.

    In my case it was the ticketing system that put me off. I jumped through every single hoop asked of me for the past couple of years and still failed to get a ticket. I simply couldn’t be arsed with all that faff this time around.

    And when it was annouced that the tickets hadn’t sold out this year, I’d already made up my mind not to go and wouldn’t be able to fit it into my schedule.

    I’m not saying that’s THE reason for the poor ticket sales, merely that there are probably a multitude of reasons of which Jay-Z is but a minor one.

    I mean, are people really claiming that tickets have failed to sell out for a weekend of music spread over a dozen different stages, large and tiny, merely because there’s going to be hip-hop on one of the stages for an hour and a half on one of the nights? Perhaps there are people who spend a couple of hundred quid on a weekend of music based on who is headlining that year, but as a veteran of ten Glastonburys, I’ve yet to meet one.

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