Neil Lonsdale's petition has attracted thousands of signatures since it was started last night
The man who started a petition to try and convince Glastonbury organisers to cancel Kanye West‘s headline slot and book a rock band instead has admitted that he has never actually been to the festival.
Neil Lonsdale’s Change.org petition has attracted over 10,000 signatures at the time of writing and was set up after the announcement that West will headline the Saturday night of this year’s festival.
Reached for comment by NME, education worker Lonsdale from Norfolk admits that while he is a “Glastonbury virgin” he has a ticket for this year’s festival and has been checking daily for updates on headliners, having been “ecstatic” with the news that Foo Fighters will headline the Friday night of the event.
However, the news about West’s slot angered him. “I fought the temptation to scream and instead opted to hurl my iPhone across the room,” Lonsdale said. “Two years ago we had The Rolling Stones playing the Saturday night, and this year we get Kanye West? It’s an outrage!”
Lonsdale admits that the petition was initially set up as a joke response to last night’s announcement and that he was shocked by its popularity among other ticket holders.
“I was a little surprised that people have taken it as seriously as they have,” he admitted. “Don’t get me wrong, if it works, then I’ll be more than happy. I’m not surprised it’s 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 “woo-hoo!” – That is what it’s about.”
Self-confessed “rock kid” Lonsdale says he has no issue with hip-hop or artists from the genre. He stated: “My beef is not with the genre. My beef is with the stage and the fact it’s a headline slot.” He went on to say that West does not “represent anything. His songs are lyrically appalling”, he “totally disrespected Beck” at the Grammys in February and that “his Brits performance was just threatening”.
“Glastonbury needs upbeat major artists. Glastonbury is an institution. It is expected that it has the biggest names. The biggest performers. Kanye does not represent that,” he added.
Similarly, Lonsdale was keen to stress that race is not a factor in his opposition to the headline decision and said that he is “pretty outspoken on my views about prejudices of all types. It doesn’t matter if you’re black, white, straight, gay. If you behave like Kanye, you’ve got to expect some opposition.”
He confesses that 10,000 signatures is small in relation to a festival attended by well over 100,000 people every year with millions more watching at home, and does not expect any real success with the petition. He said: “I’m only one guy. My petition started as a joke, and I never thought it would make a difference. 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.”
Lonsadle also won’t be selling his ticket or seeking a refund. He said: “There is so much to see that I’ll have a great time regardless of whether Kanye headlines but I’m sure we could have got Fleetwood Mac for the same price [as West].” Other suggestions for alternative headliners included Blur, The Libertines, The Cure, Oasis, Fleetwood Mac, Green Day, Bruce Springsteen, Jack White, Muse or David Bowie.
There is now one final headline slot to be announced for the festival. Neither Coldplay or Florence + The Machine will headline according to organiser Emily Eavis. Both artists had been linked to one of this year’s headline slots however, Eavis recently said Eavis has stated officially that the rumours were unfounded.