Glastonbury’s Emily Eavis questions ‘dark underbelly of the web’ following Kanye West petition

'We think the story this year should not be: 'Why is Kanye coming?' but: 'How amazing is it that Kanye is coming?', writes the festival booker

Glastonbury Festival’s Emily Eavis has written a blog post in response to an online petition launched to prevent Kanye West from headlining this year’s event.

Writing for The Guardian, Eavis said that she and her father Michael wouldn’t normally comment on such a campaign “but given the enormous amount of media coverage from all corners of the globe we felt compelled to respond this time.”

She continues: “We think the story this year should not be: “Why is Kanye coming?” but: “How amazing is it that Kanye is coming?” One of the world’s biggest superstars and a music legend, always interesting, never boring. He has agreed to play a festival where headliners get paid a fraction of their normal rate in support of Oxfam, Water Aid and Greenpeace as well as thousands of other worthy causes. We think that’s pretty great.”

She went on to question the people signing the petition, which has so far bought in over 50,000 virtual signatures. “I have such faith in humanity, but believe me, some of the vitriol being thrown around this week has made me question the dark underbelly of the web,” she wrote. “Who are those people silently shouting in disgust, throwing out threats from behind their screens? It certainly isn’t pleasant to be on the receiving end of that. I can’t even imagine how it makes Kanye feel”.

Eavis explained that only four more requests for ticket refunds were made than the previous week following the announcement earlier this week that West would headline the event in June. “The overwhelming majority of our 135,000 ticket-holders are clearly not too concerned by that particular two-hour slot on one of the 100 stages at our five-day event,” wrote Eavis.

The Change.org petition was set up after the announcement that West will headline the Saturday night of this year’s festival. The original petition read: “Kanye West is an insult to music fans all over the world. We spend hundreds of pounds to attend glasto, and by doing so, expect a certain level of entertainment. Kanye has been very outspoken on his views on music….he should listen to his own advice and pass his headline slot on to someone deserving! Lets prevent this musical injustice now!”

Speaking exclusively to NME, the man behind the petition Neil Lonsdale, said: “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: “I fought the temptation to scream and instead opted to hurl my iPhone across the room. Two years ago we had The Rolling Stones playing the Saturday night, and this year we get Kanye West? It’s an outrage!” Lonsdale also revealed that he’s never been to Glastonbury before.

Meanwhile, there’s also a counter petition set up called ‘Cancel all acts at Glastonbury other than Kanye West’. Earlier this week, Glastonbury organiser Michael Eavis offered his support to West by holding up a banner that read ‘Yeezy Does It’.

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 officially that the rumours were unfounded.

Foo Fighters confirmed they are to headline the 2015 event in their acceptance speech at the NME Awards 2015 with Austin, Texas last month.
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