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!


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