Stormzy Should Have Pointed The Finger At White Glastonbury
After much hype and a lot of inane small talk from the BBC presenters Stormzy took to the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury and delivered a blistering set. He came out swinging with fifteen minutes of pure aggressive Grime - the hits landing one after another. Then a costume change and the show shifted gears and we got to see the slower more playful side of the man from Croydon, before he hit the gas again heading for an intense finale. It was immense, spectacular and powerful, everything you would expect from a Glastonbury headliner.
As you would also expect there was some politics - Stormzy is not afraid to take aim at those in power and the Tories and Boris Johnson understandably felt his ire. This is not unusual and Glastonbury is a powerful platform for highlighting the abuses of those in control. Yet there was one person that perhaps should have been in the firing line - Emily Eavis.
To her credit she is the reason that Stormzy was headlining and has also made a commitment to improve the gender balance of the performers across the festival weekend, but it seems she has a blind spot when it comes to the Glastonbury audience. Whether that is negligence or financial prudence is hard to say. The fact is however, that when Stormzy walked out on the Pyramid Stage on Friday night he was met by a sea of predominantly white faces. Also by a crowd of people with a disposable income not available to many in the South London council estates from whence he hails (a weekend ticket with camping cost £253).
This is the true hypocrisy of the festival it has a strong environmental and anti-capitalist branding but is targeted at a wealthy white middle-class and in its current iteration is a huge, weekend-long consumer fest all geared to funnel money into the pockets of the promoters and the acts. You could say that is fair enough, if you want a weekend of high-calibre entertainment then it is going to cost you, were if not for the fact that Glastonbury preaches a higher purpose in both the spiritual and social realms.
So if Eavis and the promoters are genuine in their philanthropy and not just using it as a marketing device to hook in more conscientious millennial customers they would try and do something to address the balance. What you might ask? Well for a start how about discounted or free tickets for BAME people from deprived areas? Or means tested tickets for those on lower incomes? This would mean a loss in revenue of course but if the power of music and dance is transformative then shouldn’t everyone be exposed to it not just the well-off?