Glastonbury at 40 – still cool, or in the throes of a mid-life crisis?

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Line-up for landmark festival divides opinion among music fans

As every ageing rocker knows, it's not easy turning 40. Exactly how should you blend the mix of old and new to celebrate the dreaded milestone in appropriate and dignified style? For this year's Glastonbury Festival, the line-up for the party to mark its big four-o is proving no exception to the rules of ageing, dividing devotees and opponents of the great summer music and mud ritual.

The festival's founding father, Michael Eavis, insisted yesterday – as he announced that Dizzee Rascal, Scissor Sisters and the controversial rapper Snoop Dogg would be playing the Pyramid Stage – that this was the most impressive list of acts ever to grace Pilton Farm. They will be joining U2, Muse and Stevie Wonder as the headline stars.

While there were rumblings of discontent on the internet and among some critics, Mr Eavis said he was satisfied that people would not be disappointed come 25 June. "It is the most staggering line-up, to match the 40-year reputation of the festival. I have been trying to get U2 to play at the festival since 1982, and Muse have never headlined Saturday here," he said.

The inclusion of Snoop Dogg will rekindle memories of the controversy that surrounded the appearance of Jay-Z as the Saturday night headliner two years ago. His appearance infuriated devotees of guitar music such as Noel Gallagher – although in the end, the US rapper won more fans than he alienated, after starting his set with a version of Oasis's "Wonderwall".

The Flaming Lips, Pet Shop Boys and Orbital will headline the Other stage, while the veteran country artist Willie Nelson will play on the main stage on Friday. At least five major acts have yet to be announced. Such is the allure of being at Glastonbury, however, that all 175,000 tickets costing £185 each for the three-day event sold out within 12 hours of going on sale – long before any acts were announced.

Initial reaction was mixed. Comments on Facebook's Glastonbury Festival page ranged from the overexcited to the distinctly underwhelmed. "The only surprise is how unsurprising it is, weakest line-up since 1982," said one contributor.

However, negative comments on the Glastowatch website were outnumbered three to one by positive feedback, including one posting from "Mart, aged 53": "Over the moon. Not stuck in the past. Yes I'll see some old bands, can't wait for Faithless and Stevie Wonder, but half the joy for me is seeing up-and-coming bands. Yours very excitedly..."

For the full list of who is performing during the festival, visit: www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk

Hit or miss? The critics have their say

Andy Kershaw

Broadcaster and DJ

Last year, Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young headlining was a very difficult bill to top, but we have got Willie Nelson, which is about the only thing Michael Eavis – who is a god, in my opinion – could have done for this not to be a disappointment. All the others are third-raters. U2 have been a big bag of wind since I heard their first two singles 30 years ago; Stevie Wonder has been a tremendous bore for the past four decades. There are just not the stars any longer of that magnitude. When you are offering me Dizzee Rascal as the second-most tempting thing on the Friday night, that is a very telling indication of the awful state of things. The drugs changed Glastonbury. In the 1990s, it was no longer a meeting of herbalists but a gathering of amateur chemists. Glastonbury has got too big and too corporate. It used to be like a village fair – everyone knew each other, rubbing shoulders, drinking in the bar under the stage. Now there are too many arrivistes wandering around calling it "Glasto".

Kanya King

Founder, Mobo awards

In the past, Glastonbury's image was dominated by white rock and indie acts, but Jay-Z changed all of that with his performance on the main stage two years ago. That was the breakthrough moment. The fact that there are more urban artists now at Glastonbury reflects urban musicians' position at the forefront of music internationally. Glastonbury has had a lot of diverse acts playing on the jazz and world music stages, so what they are exploring now is nothing new. The difference is that these acts have made the move to the main stage. The Mobo ethos is to honour the past and to inspire the future, and with artists such as Stevie Wonder and Dizzee Rascal performing it is clear that Glastonbury is doing just that.

Mira Jessani

Live Magazine

There are bands in the line-up this year that might not have been there five years ago. When Jay-Z played Glastonbury, a lot of people were split over it. But the festival is opening doors to lots of different types of music, which is good because it reflects the public's diverse taste in music. It creates an opportunity for collaboration between different artists and cross-over between different genres. Collaborations introduce different music to different audiences, which can only be a good thing. It will be interesting to see what these bands will showcase to a wider audience. But I don't think the festival will present much new music to different generations. With the amount of access people have to music now, older people know Dizzee Rascal from his performance at the Brits, and younger audiences will have been introduced to songs by people such as Stevie Wonder through their covers by more recent bands. It's impressive that the festival has been going for 40 years, and the new kids on the block will be performing alongside the bands who laid the ground stones for their music.

Nick Kent

Rock journalist and author

You have all the big names there – Muse and U2 are probably the biggest rock bands in the world. It seems eclectic, but I wouldn't go near it. There is nothing on the main stage that I would waste my time watching, except Willie Nelson perhaps. It seems like they just picked up on what is happening at the moment. There is no context to it. In the 1970s, people went to festivals for the same reasons – to see the music and to mix with their own lifestyle tribe. I find rap acts very boring to watch live. U2 were crap when they began and are still vastly overrated and are one of the reasons why rock music is in such a pitiful state. When groups such as Muse and U2 are the most popular bands in the world, that is really shocking to me. There is plenty of good stuff out there. I like Beyoncé, Radiohead and Weezer, though I listen as much to jazz and classical music now as anything else.

Jamie Fullerton

News editor, NME

At Glastonbury you get headliners whose performance you'll remember for the rest of your life, but I don't see anything like that here. There were no massive surprises in the line-up; all the names had been rumoured for a long time. Snoop Dogg is the only one that stands out. I was surprised that Pendulum didn't make it on, as they were huge at Glastonbury last year and we thought they might be headlining this time. I think that Dizzee Rascal will be one of the highlights, and Foals always get ridiculous crowds. As Scissor Sisters have been off the radar for the past couple of years, it will be interesting to see if they can pull it off. I don't think there will be a rigid plan to commemorate the 40th anniversary, but the festival has such an amazing history, it doesn't need to lean on it too much.

Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne as transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl

First look at Oscar winner as transgender artistfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Season three of 'House of Cards' will be returning later this month

TV reviewHouse of Cards returns to Netflix
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford will play Rick Deckard once again for the Blade Runner sequel

film review
Arts and Entertainment
The modern Thunderbirds: L-R, Scott, Virgil, Alan, Gordon and John in front of their home, the exotic Tracy Island

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars ceremony 2015 will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles
Oscars 2015A quiz to whet your appetite for tonight’s 87th Academy Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Sigourney Weaver, as Ripley, in Alien; critics have branded the naming of action movie network Movies4Men as “offensive” and “demographic box-ticking gone mad”.
TVNaming of action movie network Movies4Men sparks outrage
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
News
Kristen Stewart reacts after receiving the Best Actress in a Supporting Role award for her role in 'Sils Maria' at the 40th annual Cesar awards
people
News
A lost Sherlock Holmes story has been unearthed
arts + ents Walter Elliot, an 80-year-old historian, found it in his attic,
Arts and Entertainment
Margot Robbie rose to fame starring alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street

Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days

Arts and Entertainment
Right note: Sam Haywood with Simon Usborne page turning
musicSimon Usborne discovers it is under threat from the accursed iPad
Arts and Entertainment
A life-size sculpture by Nick Reynolds depicting singer Pete Doherty on a crucifix hangs in St Marylebone church
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Escalating tension: Tang Wei and Chris Hemsworth in ‘Blackhat’
filmReview: Chris Hemsworth stars as a convicted hacker in Blackhat
Arts and Entertainment

Oscar voter speaks out

film
Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars race for Best Picture will be the battle between Boyhood and Birdman

Oscars
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy), Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance)
tvReview: Wolf Hall
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Meighan of Kasabian collects the Best Album Award
music
Arts and Entertainment
Best supporting stylist: the late L’Wren Scott dressed Nicole Kidman in 1997
film
Arts and Entertainment
Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) and Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor)
tv occurred in the crucial final scene
Arts and Entertainment
Glasgow wanted to demolish its Red Road flats last year
architecture
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower