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Thoughts on Glastonbury

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Tom Robinson Tom Robinson | 18:18 UK time, Monday, 18 April 2011

Glastonbury 2010 Shangri-La

Hello, friends of NowPlaying - I hope the sun shone wherever you were and that you had a good weekend… Mine was spent partly catching up on a bit of swimming, cycling and walking with my son, and partly on editing up a DIY  video as a favour for the artist known as Snippet, whose work we love on 6 Music Introducing

Last Friday’s NowPlaying show focussed on the conversations we’d been having with you towards the end of last week. Given that a large chunk of the massive Glasto 2011 lineup had just been announced, we wondered which particular tunes from that huge list of artists you felt would be worth listening out for.  There were some interesting suggestions, too: The Bees, Caribou, The Naked & Famous and Hurts as well as more populist choices such as Queens of the Stone Age, Paul Simon and The Streets.

But a valid point was raised on the 6 Music Facebook page: “I think it’s about time that 6music showed its innovation and non-conformist credentials by abandoning the Glasto behemoth and covering Green Man instead. Great line up and vibe, much more in keeping with the 6music ethos. I bet most of your listeners couldn’t give a toss about Glasto these days.”

Equally another chipped in: "6 Music should deliver its remit by engaging people who are interested in music and who want to learn more about it. Its music should focus on major artists and material which do not receive much support from other radio stations.  So a lot of Glastonbury’s headliners really fall outside that requirement, don’t they?”
Glastonbury nightfall

My feeling is that 6 Music – like Glasto itself – has to tread a fine line between the popular and the alternative. Most of my own time there is spent trudging between the BBC Introducing stage, the 6 Music studio and wilder environs of Shangri-La.  But many of my friends find everything they need on The Other, John Peel and Pyramid stages with occasional forays down to The Park.

I imagine most of the 6 Music community will just set their PVR to record the TV coverage then  fastforward through the dull bits to the interesting stuff – at no cost, in their own time and in the comfort of their own living room. But the point is that everybody’s idea of what the dull and interesting bits are will be different.


Last Friday on our Facebook page one person named Hey Boy Hey Girl as their potential Glasto highlight by the Chemical Brothers – a band who have 14 top ten hits under their belt. Whereas foranother it was Solitude Is Bliss by Tame Impala.

Tame Impala

So is the assertion correct that “most of your listeners couldn’t give a toss about Glasto these days”. Certainly, the Green Man Festival is closer to the 'alternative spirit' celebrated by 6 Music, but as we heard last Friday a lot of people like Paul Simon AND the Naked and Famous. A whole weekend live from The Green Man might  be an interesting listen and  bring exposure to some  deserving acts – but would “most of our listeners” prefer that instead of Glasto? Well, why not post a comment and tell us.

That said, a good point is that  headliners like Beyonce and U2 are possibly less interesting to many of you than the likes of Pentangle, Edgar Broughton, and C W Stoneking. Actually, if it was down to me which acts 6 Music featured over the weekend, I’d propose a great deal more covereage of the BBC Introducing stage – but then I would say that, wouldn’t I?

As a showcase for new talent, Glasto beats the other festivals hands down. Tyneside teenagers Let’s Buy Happiness won a slot on the John Peel Stage last year through the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition and half an hour after coming off stage you can still see the elation in their faces. They’d already been filmed at Maida Vale for 6 Music’s BBC Introducing Week and played on Radio 1. But it was only after taking the stage at the world’s premier musical gathering that they knew they’d finally arrived.
Let's Buy Happiness


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