Suffice to say he'd rather have Blur on the Pyramid Stage
Andy Morris

15:20 17th March 2015

Upon hearing the news last night that Kanye West was headlining this year's Glastonbury festival, one particular ticket holder was less than pleased.

Neil Londsdale, an education worker from Norfolk and regular festival-goer, had been looking forward to his first Glastonbury, having never before ventured to Worthy Farm. Upon hearing the news that West was topping the bill, he decided, as a joke, to start a Change.org petition.

The only problem was that following the media reports he now over 12,000 signatures and now stands a very real chance of having his name flashed up on a screen during Kanye's set. Following repeated requests for interview by a number of media outlets (including Gigwise.com) he issued the following response.

What made you start the petition?
Neil Lonsdale: As a music fan, and Glastonbury virgin (not festival virgin) I have been waiting eagerly and checking daily for updates on headliners. I have notifications set up on my phone, so I receive Emily's tweets instantly. As soon as I read that she was "pleased" to announce Kanye, I fought the temptation to scream and instead opted to hurl my iPhone across the room.

Two years ago, we had Rolling Stones playing the Saturday night, and this year we get Kanye West? “It's an outrage! Something must be done!" I declared.  My petition was initially a joke response to the announcement, as I am fully aware that there is plenty of other stuff to keep me amused. Kanye is not to my liking, but then, I'm only one person.

Am you surprised by the popularity of the petition?
I was a little surprised that people have taken it as seriously as they have. Don't get me wrong, if it works, then I'll be more than happy... I'm not surprised its popular though. Festivals are about people coming together through their love of music and song, and creating something magical. Look back to Blur in 2009. One of the band's seminal moments - 100,000 people chanting "Wahoo!" That is what it’s about.

Does Kanye represent the Glasto Spirit?
No. He doesn't. He shouldn't represent anything. His songs are lyrically appalling. He sings about 'bitches' and 'n*****' . He totally disrespected Beck at the recent Grammys. His Brits performance was just threatening. Glastonbury needs upbeat major artists. There are a huge number of acts free on that day. Surely the Eavis family didn't have to scrape quite so low?

What do you mean by "Glastonbury goers expect a certain level of performer"?
Glastonbury is an institution. It is expected that it has the biggest names. The biggest performers... Kanye does not represent that. Also, where is the "class"? Is it wrong to expect role models of today, not to promote their wife's porn career to the world? In 15 years’ time, South West (or whatever Kanye's kid is called) will turn to Kanye and ask "Daddy...why did you pimp out mummy?"

Do you have a ticket? Will you keep it?
Of course I'll keep it. There is so much to see in a festival, that I'll have a great time regardless of whether Kanye headlines. I'm sure we coulda got Fleetwood Mac for the same price....They're still free that weekend, by the way.

Is your petition based on Kanye as a person or performer?
Both. I don't like his music. I'm a rock kid at heart. That said, he is a bad person. You don't get grief from "Anonymous" (those guys who own the internet) for being a positive role model on today’s youth! [Note: Anonymous have since denied attacking West]

How do you respond to those who say that his performance is only 90 minutes of the whole weekend?
I agree. It is only 90 minutes. Though its 90 minutes I'd never get back. A two hour Blur set would be much more appealing to everyone... maybe even to Kanye fans.

Are you happy about Foo Fighters headlining?
I'm ecstatic! I love Grohl and the team. It’s a great signing :)

Do you like any Kanye West songs?
I quite liked that Estelle song, 'American Boy', but otherwise, no. His mainstream tunes have put me off trying his other work.

Should hip-hop be excluded from Glasto?
Definitely not! My beef is not with the genre. My beef is with the stage and the fact it’s a headline slot. Perhaps the Gorillaz could do a good job, and their last album was amazing. But still, they are not a headline act. Music is not about exclusion. It’s about coming together. Other groups could do a better job of that than Kanye.

What did I think to Jay Z's Glastonbury performance?
I didn't watch much of Jay-Z's performance I'm afraid. From what I gather it was very well received. I think Jay Z is a little less divisive than Kanye. I think that's partly to do with Kanye's antics off-mic?

What would you dream Glastonbury line-up?
Blur, Libertines, Cure, Oasis, Fleetwood Mac, Rolling Stones, Green Day, Springsteen, Jack White. Muse maybe? David Bowie?

There have been suggestions it's to do with Kanye being black...
Total nonsense. I won’t justify them with a response, but I'm pretty outspoken on my views about prejudices of all types. It doesn't matter if you're black, white, straight, gay, et al. If you behave like Kanye, you gotta expect some opposition. I'm only one guy... My petition started as a joke, and I never thought it would make a difference. I stand by that now. I don't think it would make a difference if 200,000 people signed it... Anyway, Kanye's a big boy, I'm sure he can take a bit of banter.

West is the second confirmed headliner for the festival alongside Foo Fighters, who will play the Pyramid Stage on Worthy Farm on the Friday. Other rumours include Queen + Adam Lambert, Taylor Swift, Elton John, The Libertines, Noel Gallagher, Prince and many more.

Glastonbury Festival 2015 takes place at Worthy Farm in Somerset from 24 - 28 June 2015.

  • Hip hop does belong at Glastonbury: Despite a historic precedence for white, male guitar bands dominating the UK festival scene, Glastonbury has never attempted to tie itself to one specific genre. Some of the most controversial, but ultimately successful, performers have been hip hop artists - Jay-Z and Beyonce, for example, and, lower down the bill, Wu-Tang Clan and Cypress Hill... If you really, truly believe hip hop has no place at Worthy Farm, then feel free to go and enjoy one of the 6,426,351 other acts they'll have performing.

  • He's headlined festivals before: West is not some young upstart who's come along with one album and usurped our sacred veterans of rock. He's worked his way up with seven hugely successful albums and has proved himself more than capable, if you can excuse the odd rant or two, of headlining massive festivals.

  • ...But he's never done Glastonbury before: As great as it would be to all get our lighters out and sway along to a fourth Glastonbury headline set from Coldplay, it's nice to have a fresh face. In general, Glastonbury does a pretty good job of avoiding booking stale headline acts, but there are still a few predictably safe bands who seem to be wheeled around the festival circuit on autopilot. Kanye is not one of them.

  • He'll probably bring guests: During his recent Koko gig (Koko to Glastonbury in one year! He's really risen from nowhere) West brought out a plethora of UK grime artists, but there's every chance he'll step that up a gear for Glastonbury. 2Chainz? Raekwon? If he brings out Rihanna, whose album he's executive-producing, it'll be game over. In the very best way. Hell, why not throw Paul McCartney in there too.

  • He has more hits than you could possibly imagine: OK, maybe if you've got a really great imagination, you could imagine all his hits. But just in case you don't - 'Gold Digger', 'POWER', 'Black Skinhead', 'Stronger', 'N**as In Paris', 'FourFiveSeconds', 'All Of The Lights', 'All Day', 'Heartless', 'Love Lockdown'...and so on, forever.

  • The visuals are going to be incredible: If you're worried a solo artist won't be able to create the visual spectacle that a band can, then you've clearly not seen photos from West's BRIT performance, or his Louis Vuitton show, or any of his world tours. Visual spectacle is his middle name* and so even if you're right at the back and he looks like an ant to you, it'll be a really spectacular ant. *actually it's Omari

  • Blowtorches are probably safer at Glastonbury than the O2: When Kanye performed at the BRITs, one of his many visual spectacles was two massive blowtorches, which cast his entire onstage entourage in a mesmeric orange glow. Unfortunately, only one of them seemed to be working. Let's sort that out for June, yeah?

  • He probably will rant - let's embrace it: Kanye and rants, at this point, go very much hand in hand. At Wireless, he told the crowd, "Fuck whatever anyone thinks. It's about Kanye's dreams. The media are trying to control all of you." He told the Bonnaroo crowd, "I know y'all seen movies and shit, but y'all living a movie right motherfucking now. Because I AM THE NUMBER ONE MOTHERFUCKING ROCK STAR ON THE PLANET." Let's just enjoy it. He doesn't usually say anything particularly offensive, it's entertaining, and it's part of the act. We just wish he'd have some confidence in his own abilities.

  • Going in as an underdog is actually an advantage: Thanks to the passionate activism of one vehemently angry Kanye detractor, a petition was created asking Emily Eavis to cancel his headline slot "and get a rock band." Nearly 8,000 people are equally as disheartened by the disgraceful underrepresentation of rock bands at festivals, and therefore Kanye will be going into this as even more of an underdog than Metallica. And they came out pretty well.

  • He has a penchant for theatricality: On his 2013 tour, Kanye climbed a makeshift mountain, was bowed down to by white-clad, masked women and then brought a Jesus "impersonator" onstage. We say impersonator, but we have no actual proof it wasn't Jesus. It's hard to top a guest like Jesus, but perhaps he could bring God out at Glastonbury. Too much to ask?

  • He will be anything but boring: You might have seen the painfully accurate Portlandia sketch of what it's often like to attend a gig (drudging songs, endless encores, toilet queues, jostling - and the blissful joy of going home.) Kanye's Glastonbury set will not be the kind of plainly mediocre gig that 's so unremarkable you wish you'd just stayed home with Netflix. It'll be eclectic, raucous, eccentric, rant-filled perhaps, but never boring.

  • This man knows what he is doing: "Oh, do you remember that year that Michael and Eavis made Glastonbury rubbish"- said no one, ever.

Issue Four of the Gigwise Print magazine is on pre-order now! Order here.


Photo: Wenn