Kanye West at Glastonbury 2015: Emily Eavis backs 'always interesting, never boring' headliner as petition against rapper hits 125,000

Festival co-organiser Eavis thinks music fans should be celebrating the booking

Glastonbury organiser Emily Eavis has hit back at Kanye West critics after a petition to cancel his headline slot reached 125,000 signatures.

Founder Michael Eavis’ daughter does not normally comment on backlash to booked acts, but “felt compelled to respond” after the “enormous amount of media coverage from all corners of the globe”.

“We think the story this year should not be ‘Why is Kanye coming?’ but ‘How amazing is it that Kanye is coming?’” she wrote in a Guardian blog post. “One of the world’s biggest superstars and a music legend, always interesting, never boring.

“He has agreed to play a festival where headliners get paid a fraction of their normal rate in support of Oxfam, Water Aid and Greenpeace as well as thousands of other worthy causes. We think that’s pretty great.”

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Michael Eavis supports Glastonbury headliner Kanye West

Eavis went on to attack the “dark underbelly of the web” and “those people silently shouting in disgusts, throwing out threats from behind their screens”.

“I have such faith in humanity but it certainly isn’t pleasant to be on the receiving end of [vitriol],” she said. “I can’t even imagine how it makes Kanye feel.”

Only four more ticket refund requests were made the day after Kanye was announced than the previous Tuesday, Eavis explained.

“The overwhelming majority of our 135,000 ticket-holders are clearly not too concerned by that particular two-hour slot on one of the 100 stages at our five-day event,” she wrote. “We book our acts by choosing the best and most challenging musicians on the planet – not by applying some kind of arbitrary morality test.”

 

The Glastonbury team are no strangers to controversy over headliners, with Jay Z, Beyoncé and Metallica among the recent performers to divide music fans.

The latest petition, set up by Neil Lonsdale who has never gone to Glastonbury, brands Kanye an “insult to music fans all over the world” and demands organisers “get a rock band” instead.

“I fought the temptation to scream and instead opted to hurl my iPhone across the room,” Lonsdale told NME. “Two years ago we had The Rolling Stones playing the Saturday night and this year we get Kanye West? It’s an outrage!”

Foo Fighters will join Kanye as headliners, with a final bill-topper yet to be announced. The rest of the eclectic line-up is expected in April, before the festival returns to Worthy Farm, Somerset from 24 to 28 June.

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