Archive for May, 2010

May 27, 2010

Gorillaz replace U2

In response to my article yesterday, about U2 cancelling Glastonbury and a look at the history of Glastonbury no-shows, I was surprised as much as everyone else with the quick announcement of Gorillaz as U2’s Friday night replacement!  Surely this is the greatest fill in band to ever grace the stage? Bookies favourite Dizzee was also my personal favourite to replace the Irish supergroup, it made sense to promote the east end rapper to the headline slot after such an incredible 12 months.   Although Gorillaz are far superior in terms of occasion, musical depth and exclusivity!   It just goes to show how much Damon has rekindled his desire for the spotlight and to reignite his inner showman.   I expect him and his band to seize the moment and steal the festival?

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May 26, 2010

U2 cancel Glastonbury!!

The news that U2 have pulled out of their Friday headlining spot has probably reached the far-flung corners of the world by now! With Bono needing emergency back surgery over the weekend it would have been asking a little too much of him to perform in just over a months time – even Bono couldn’t manage that?   Tragic as it may sound, Glastonbury has had to cope with this type of set back on many occasions.

The most famous Glastonbury no-show is now part of Glastonbury folklore; The Stone Roses cancelled in 1995 due to John Squire breaking his collar-bone riding his BMX, replacement band Pulp seized the moment with a showstopping performance that catapulted them to massive popularity, and the rest his history.   The most recent high-profile cancellation was Kylie Minogue in 2004 – she had just been diagnosed with breast cancer! – Basement Jaxx filled the spot with divided opinion –  and unlike Pulp failed to capitalise on their elevated status.  2004 also saw The Libertines pull out (not much of surprise given their chequered history!) to be replaced on the main stage by festival favourites, Supergrass.

1997 saw a double blow on the Sunday night.  Most people only remember 97 for the mud and Radiohead’s groundbreaking performance, but both the top acts for the Sunday night pulled out for personal reasons – Neil Young who was replaced by the anti-climatic Kula Shaker, and headliner Steve Winwood, who was replaced by indie stalwarts Ash, who failed to deliver a career-defining performance!  Another notable absentee from the Glastonbury main stage was Morrissey in 1992 – during his flag waiving, race provoking hey day – could have been a Glastonbury moment? – replaced by a safe pair of hands – James.   Even Pink Floyd pulled out in 1971 because they couldn’t get all their stage equipment on to the site!

Glastonbury isn’t the only festival to encounter last-minute cancellations, Reading has had its fair share of injuries and legal ramifications.  The biggest no-show in the history of the Reading festival and on a par with the current U2 crises has to be Eminem pulling out of the headling slot on the sunday night, this was due to legal reasons and an impending court case.  He was replaced by the MOR Stereophonics, there would have been a few disappointed punters that night!  Jack White’s – The White Stripes pulled out in 2003 due to a motorcycle accident, which left Jack with a damaged guitar hand!  Ironically it was the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club who replaced him! Jay Z also cancelled that same year with the markedly different, The Darkness taking his spot!

Oasis infamously cancelled last year’s V Festival due to Liam’s throat!  Probably had nothing to do with the brothers falling out?  Too late to call a last-minute replacement – Snow Patrol moved up a slot.

There will be many rumors circulating as to who will fill the mighty gap of U2.  No doubt Emily and Micheal will be frantically ringing around to call in a favour or two – they probably have one of the biggest address books in the business, so if anyone can?  One thing that history has taught us though, most replacements are much less significant than the original, and very few (Pulp aside) actually seize their big moment.  Although that still won’t stop the wild speculation!

May 13, 2010

The first festival casualty of the summer – The Glade

The Glade – electronic dance music festival, has been cancelled today because of financial difficulties, forced on to the organisers by over stringent security measures by the local police. Their statement actually blames the increasingly strict licensing laws, which since the early 90’s have often created sterile and over-officiated festivals and outdoor concerts.

‘As many Glade fans will know over the years we have fought hard to maintain the integrity of the event against steadily increasing restrictions imposed by local authority and police. The resulting compromises have led to increased costs, increased ticket prices and a throttling of the very essence of what we wanted to do. It led to us finally having to move from the lovely Wasing estate due to late night noise restrictions and the police’s demands for an ever-increasing security and police presence at the event.’

The Glade organisers were trying to create a dance festival that symbolized the halcyon days of a bygone age. Since the Criminal Justice Act was introduced in 1994 by the John Major led government, each succesive government has increased its tightening of social and civic rights. With a new coalition government announced today we can only hope that this incoming regime will not seek to increase the stranglehold on liberties on what is already viewed as a nanny state. The music festival industry in the UK is a very succesful model among the global market, why rip the heart out of it with draconian and unneccessary legislation?

To solely blame the local police, along with the law changers, however, is probably a little too simplistic and polarized. The festival moved sites last year from Berkshire, again blaming bureaucratic mandates. Although the latest site at Matterly Bowl estate in Hampshire is much larger in size and has a history of dance festivals – including the legendary Homelands. Together with more bands and stages than ever before the promoters certainly stretched their funds, and fan base! In a time of economic austerity, relocating to a larger site and increasing both the scale and the dynamics of the festival was probably a little foolhardy. Many smaller festivals folded last year and only the highly publicised and long-standing festivals are economically buoyant. The market for small festivals is highly competitive and if a rival can leverage any kind of advantage, like lobbying a local council to put the squeeze on security then they will seek it out for survival!

May 3, 2010

The social power of music

Music-based social networking sites have arrived and are set to become the latest viral trend. With the announcement last week that Spotify will integrate its music database and functionality with Facebook, allowing Facebook members that are signed up to Spotify the ability to send each other songs, listen to each others playlists and post a link to their site anywhere on the web.

Music has always been about sharing with your friends, from all those C96 tape compilations or playing vinyl around your mates. Showing off your tastes and bragging about your collection has always been a musical ritual that is deeply entrenched within music’s tribal sensibility. The glut of social networking sites that have suddenly appeared seem to recognise the communicative powers of music and it seems odd that both the music industry and the digital pioneers have only just realised the full potential of this previously untapped market.   mflow – a kind of musical twitter that rewards its succesful users – and SoundCloud – which has simplified the art of sending music via the web – are just the tip of the iceberg!   iTunes is currently researching a possible music networking facility?  Finally the web’s potential is being realised – record companies take note!