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December 2018 / January 2019
Opinion

Adele isn't just headlining Glastonbury, she's saving it from becoming boring

She might be the biggest artist in the world, but with the same old headliners dominating, she's a breath of fresh air.
Published: 10:14 pm, March 18, 2016
Adele isn't just headlining Glastonbury, she's saving it from becoming boring
It started pretty much as soon as Emily Eavis sent out the tweet.

“What a great honour it is to have the wonderful Adele confirmed for this year’s Saturday night headline spot on the Pyramid Stage,” she wrote.

“Dreadful. The Pyramid gets worse every year,” one fan immediately replied. “Awful, Where’s Radiohead or Stone Roses,” followed another. “Should have been Stone Roses! Adel (sic) is depressing for a Saturday night,” a third chimed in.

Sometimes, people are rubbish.

Lest we forget, the other two headliners for this year’s Glastonbury Festival are Muse and Coldplay. The former will be topping the bill for the third time, the latter for the fourth. Known quantities, expected to roll up every few years and do a job.

In a world where festivals are repeating the same bills again and again, there’s nothing to quicken the pulse in another headline set by either of two bands who have been knocking around the big leagues for the past fifteen years or more. The acts that some suggest should join them may be slightly more interesting, but they’re still nothing new. Radiohead, practically the Glastonbury house band they’ve played so many times, may invent with their music, but their appearance is so expected when a new album goes around it would almost be remarkable if they don’t show up somewhere.

She may be the biggest musician in the world - and have held the title for long enough to prove she’s an artist with longevity to boot - but in comparison, Adele is the one that will make Glastonbury 2016 tick.

Up until very recently, the big scale, two hour long live performance wasn’t her thing - and certainly not headlining festivals. This is new territory for an artist with nothing else left to prove. Adele transcends boundaries - an act who can play to any generation, but with a sparkle and a flourish. And, obviously, she’s not a bloke in a band.

With the gender mix of festival line-ups rightly under the microscope, for the biggest event of the summer to feature the same old male faces would have been a smack in the mouth for those that think it’s capable of better. Booking Adele may not be a risky move - there’s no act on the planet that can capture the attention of the masses better - but it’s better than nothing. While Florence stood in last year, Beyonce dominated in 2011 and Meg and Régine have both appeared since the turn of the millennium, they’re dwarfed by the sheer number of men sitting at the top of the bill. If Adele can’t headline Glastonbury, who can?

For those with a problem, the same argument that was made when Jay-Z and Kanye West headlined remains. Yes, you do sound a bit sexist, just like you sounded a bit racist back then - chances are you wouldn’t be levelling the same argument at a Springsteen or McCartney - but this is Glastonbury. There are more stages than you can count. Go somewhere else. Find something else to do. Discover something new. Just stop complaining. Adele is saving Glastonbury 2016; you sound like a dick.

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