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Festivals live and kicking


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YOU may have heard of only a handful, but there are in fact more than 450 music festivals taking place in the UK this year.


That means you can choose from roughly 30 events every weekend during the summer season, which kicked off last week with the Isle Of Wight and Download festivals, and ends, also on the Isle of Wight, with Bestival which takes place September 5-7.


Festivals are now big business, with more people attending than ever before. Live music in general is currently a booming industry, and in the face of record labels collapsing and uncertainty surrounding the future and format of recorded music, performing live provides a sure-fire way of bands to make money.


As a result, when it was announced Jay-Z was going to headline Glastonbury, which takes place June 27-29, it grabbed the headlines and the debate still rages on. There are those who think he'll be amazingly popular with the Pilton Farm crowd, and others who think he'll go down like a lead balloon.


"Glastonbury is about guitar music, I'm not having hip hop at Glastonbury," cried Noel Gallagher, whose band Oasis headlined the event in 2004. Coldplay frontman and friend of Jay-Z, Chris Martin, however, defended the rapper's scheduled appearance, saying it was "what the world needs to happen".


The rest of this year's Glastonbury bill has also been criticised for appearing too populist, with festival organisers Michael Eavis and daughter Emily accused of going for the mainstream vote, and changing the nature of the festival in the process.


Last year's Glastonbury was something of a disaster, largely due to the horrendous weather, but also because of problems with sound-systems, the line-up and overcrowding, so who can blame the Eavises for trying something different?


As a result, there are still tickets for Glastonbury available, which can be found in flagship branches of HMV. Compared to previous years when tickets have been snapped up in a matter of minutes, it's amazing there are still some left this close to the event.


You could, of course, just catch it on TV. Miserable, yes, but it's cheaper, and there's next to no chance of getting stuck behind the tallest person in the crowd.



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