Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Emily Eavis defends Jay-Z

Emily Eavis rushes into print in today's Independent to defend the Jay-Z booking and, thereby, not have to deal with any of the more pressing complaints about the festival and its organisation. Indeed, it appears there aren't any problems at all:

Some of the claims have been wild. First, we were blown away by selling 100,000 tickets on the first day of sale, especially given that it was a snowy Sunday in April.

Oh, yes. The light snows of early April. We remember how many people woke up and weren't able to get across their living rooms to log on to their PCs that day.

Citing it being a Sunday in April to explain ticket sales is absurd enough - who chose the day to put the tickets on sale in the first place? - but to then try and suggest that the weather had an influence is just insulting. Why not mention the Zimbabwean election as well?

And if selling 100,000 blew you away, then how come you had to scrabble round for a scheme to reopen registrations? If you really were expecting to have a quarter of the tickets left unsold on the day, how come there wasn't a system already in place to cope with the undersell?

Still, Emily isn't here to deal with such matters, she's talking about Jay-Z:
The main misconception, however, has been the suggestion that signing Jay-Z was all about trying to capture a different audience for the festival, an attempt to move it away from its more "traditional" supporters. That is just not the case.

Why, then where can such a misconception have come from? Perhaps from the sort of interviews where Emily's Dad said that the headline booking was designed to bring in a new, younger audience:
we’ve got a Saturday night headliner that’s going to attract the young people. We’re breaking the tradition of having the big name, Anglo-Saxon, white, rock’n’roll superstar types that we normally get. We’re breaking from that tradition for the first time and we’re having a black artist from New York. That’s going to go a treat and hopefully pull in the young people.
[...]
I can see its going to be very, very different and kids and late-teens will love it to bits. That’s what they enjoy rather than the bands that I always considered to be the leaders in the field.
[...]
I’m sure its going to be a mega attraction and the fact we’re doing something new, like the ticket system, shows we’re not afraid to change things in order to be bold and to be full of ambition and I’ve been doing that for 38 years."

So, Jay-Z was a big attraction, very different from the usual Glastonbury headliners and intended to bring in a younger, new audience. According to Michael, anyway.

Emily has some stronger arguments, not least when looking at the source of some of the complaints about having a black man headlining on the Pyramid stage:
And there is also an interesting undercurrent in the suggestion that a black, US hip-hop artist shouldn't be playing in front of what many perceive to be a white, middle-class audience. I'm not sure what to call it, at least not in public, but this is something that causes me some disquiet.

Why Emily won't come out and call racism for what it is is possibly more disturbing than the racism itself - if we flinch from being honest about it, we do nobody any favours - but trying to recast the entire shambles of this year's festival as being down to knee-jerk conservatism on the part of the press won't wash. After all, nobody's that thrilled by Kings Of Leon or The Verve and their best before 1999 schtick, either. Perhaps it's racists and beardists and north-bashers all acting in harmony.

Writing an article for the Independent which totally contradicts your father's interview from a couple of months ago, while trying to spin the sales disaster as good for a cold day just makes the whole festival look like it thinks the public are idiots. Does nobody at Worthy Farm ever admit they made a mistake?


2 comments:

Ruth said...

Oh Emily. I remember a few years ago pressing the refresh button into the early hours of the morning, after it was decided they'd put the tickets on sale at 8pm on a Thursday and all the tickets still sold out.

Anonymous said...

it always rains, it costs a lot, the traffic is awful, it's far too crowded and you have to jump through numerous hoops to register. now the market is so saturated people don't have to put up with it.

not going to glastonbury? there's no worries because the other option isn't just reading/leeds and the v festival anymore, instead you can go to bestival, latitude, even benicassim, plus there's the more sanitised alternatives like the isle of wight and the folky stuff like green man...

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