Glastonbury has announced the first load of acts set to play Worthy Farm, and with the festival returning this summer after a fallow year, social media’s awash with music fans reacting to the line-up. The Cure and The Killers have been confirmed as Pyramid Stage headliners, along with Stormzy’s previously announced Friday headline slot. And elsewhere, the likes of Janet Jackson, Idles, Liam Gallagher, Tame Impala, Christine and The Queens and Billie Eilish are among the initial wave of confirmed acts.
With hundreds of other acts yet to be announced – and no doubt a sprinkling of secret sets to come – these are the biggest talking points so far.
Noughties indie is still alive and kicking
As always, everyone has an opinion regarding this, and as usual a bunch of people are crowing on about how this means that the whole line-up is ‘shite’ as a consequence. If you’re of this persuasion, I would suggest checking out one of the many other stages during those particular slots, or perhaps popping to the healing fields to realign your chakras.
And if the noughties takeover leaves you in more the mood for drop-kicking a pint of snake-bite as the chorus to ‘Something Good Can Work’ kicks in, then absolutely fair play.
Look out for the landmark sets from the megastars-in-waiting
Further down the bill, it’s a line up filled with fierce potential. A hugely underrated artist, Lizzo’s two exceptional albums to date may have slipped under the radar in previous years, but at Glastonbury, she’s surely due her crowning moment. West Country punk firecrackers IDLES – based just up the road in Bristol – look set to bring one of the festival’s most incendiary sets, while Little Simz showcasing her latest album ‘Grey Area’ is another dead cert standout moment. And with Billie Eilish, Slowthai, Rex Orange County, Jorja Smith, Rosalia and King Princess also descending on the farm, it’s a big year for newer faces.
We can all get behind the Jackson it’s still OK to like
A certified pop superstar with 17 UK Top 10 singles under her belt, Janet Jackson plays Glastonbury for the first time in 2019. The slot will mark the influential artist’s first UK show in eight years, and with stonking great bangers to her name like ‘Together Again’ ‘Nasty’ and ‘That’s The Way Love Goes’, it’s the booking that pop fans are raving about.
Janet Jackson’s enormous influence also ripples down the line-up. Christine and The Queens, whose latest album ‘Chris’ is heavily influenced by Jerry Jam and Terry Lewis’ dirty funk production with Jackson – has also been confirmed. Alt-pop artist Shura, who counts herself as a huge fan of Jackson’s 1997 record ‘The Velvet Rope’, is also playing, along with fellow fan and artist Janelle Monae (who will induct Jackson into the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame later this year).
Jackson plays the festival just a couple of days after the 10th anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death; but don’t expect her to make any reference to her late brother, or indeed the serious sexual abuse allegations made against him (raised most recently in the Leaving Neverland documentary). Janet Jackson has long remained silent on the matter, and unlike certain other members of the Jackson family, she has never defended him publicly.
It’s a step in the right direction
Take a marker pen to the Glastonbury poster, scribble out all the blokes playing there, and it fares…. well, far better than a lot of other festivals out there. 42% of the acts announced for the festival so far are women, and whatsmore, the most exciting acts on this entire bill are the women. Sets that will be talked about long after the 2019 festival ends: Janelle Monae, Christine and the Queens, Little Simz, Lauryn Hill, Lizzo, Kylie. And as for Sheryl Crow?! Stone cold legend.
Which begs the question: if this is the case, why is the festival still being headlined by ‘The Man’? The headline slots on the Pyramid Stage are ruled entirely by male artists, and it looks set to be a similar story over at The Other Stage. With the exception of Stormzy (who plays the festival’s biggest stage with just a debut record to his name) the other two headliners The Killers and The Cure are established acts who have topped the bill at Glastonbury before. The representation is a good start, but wouldn’t it be far more encouraging – and a far braver move – to see the gender balance carry through right to the top of the poster?
There’s so much more to come…
And look, if you’re still not happy with what’s on offer, this poster represents about 1% of the total line-up. Notably absent, Foals just released their 5-star rated album ‘Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost: Part 1’, with the second part of their double album due later on in the year. It’s worth keeping fingers and toes firmly crossed for a Glastonbury pit stop. Rumours circulated at the end of last year about The Spice Girls being ‘in talks’ to play there, and with albums reportedly due this year from everyone from Lana Del Rey and The 1975 – not to mention the teasing by Sleater-Kinney and The Distillers as of late – the options really are limitless.