Johnny Marr says Glastonbury Festival bookings are too ‘kitsch’

Guitarist says booking 'old country singers' is 'a bit silly' and 'patronising'

Johnny Marr has criticised Glastonbury’s booking policy, saying he doesn’t enjoy the festival inviting “kitsch” artists to play on the Pyramid Stage.

Marr said that he was against Glastonbury’s regular Sunday afternoon “legends” slot, where singers including Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers and others have previously played. It’s taken this year by Lionel Richie.

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Asked if he thought Florence And The Machine would be a good headliner to replace the injured Foo Fighters on Friday night (June 25), Marr said: “I can see Florence working, mostly because people know her songs. It’s all about the singalong factor on that stage. It’s such a big concern of everyone nowadays, the Glastonbury headliner, and I think it’s just about people being known. This business of getting old country acts and people who have kitsch appeal, I find that a little bit silly and it’s a bit patronising to the artists involved. At least Florence has made a record in the last couple of years.”

Marr was speaking to NME after his show at Barclaycard Presents British Summer Time with The Who and Paul Weller at London’s Hyde Park last night. He admitted that, since Foo Fighters had to cancel Glastonbury when Dave Grohl broke his leg falling off stage in Sweden, he’d become nervous about injuring himself on stage too.

Marr said: “I was alright until Dave did that, but I’m worried now. He’s got to take more care of himself, that feller. I’ve taken a few tumbles in my day, but I’m a bit more nimble of foot now. That partly comes from experience, but it’s mostly sobriety. I don’t know what Dave is up to.”

The former Smiths, Cribs and Modest Mouse guitarist added that he intends to release “a couple” of brand-new EPs later this year, alongside plans to tour the UK. Marr said: “I’ve written some new songs and it’s tempting to shore them up for an album, as I like songs to be an event. But if I release them as a couple of EPs soon, it just means I’ve got to write more songs and I love work. Also, maybe the culture we’re in now of the digital age is somewhat like the singles culture that I like as a fan, and which inspired The Smiths. I’m sticking my neck out a little, as it’s safer to shore songs up, but I’ve made two albums really quickly. So before the third album, I’ll do a couple of these three-song EPs. I have enough faith in the people that follow me that they’ll get to hear these new songs.”