Glastonbury returns to roots, Springsteen headlines
By Paul Lauener
LONDON (Reuters) - Glastonbury, the world's largest green field arts and music festival has shied away from rap and chosen Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen and Blur as its headline acts this year, a return to its guitar-based roots.
Hip-hop superstar Jay-Z headlined the British music festival last year in an effort to attract a younger crowd but ticket sales dragged, and although the rapper was widely judged a success, some criticized the organizers for abandoning the festival's origins.
This year, old favorites dominate with Tom Jones, Status Quo and Madness playing the main stage and hip-hop artists Q-Tip, Roots Manuva and Black Eyed Peas relegated to the smaller areas, the official line-up showed.
"We know that there will be objections to whatever we do but if last year taught us anything, it was that we have to follow our gut instinct," festival organizer Emily Eavis told Britain's Guardian newspaper.
"Risks pay off, and featuring Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen in one weekend was a choice ... and we had to take it," the paper quoted her as saying.
One notable hip-hop exception on the main stage is British rapper Dizzee Rascal, who was topping the UK singles charts on Monday and has rocked British festivals this year.
Other artists likely to appeal to a younger crowd include indie pop group The Wombats, Australia's Gabriella Cilmi, electro-pop musician Little Boots, and pop artist Lady Gaga.
Peter Doherty will play Glastonbury's second-largest stage, and there is speculation he will be joined by his former group, the Libertines, after he performed earlier this month with two of its members for the first time since the band split in 2004.
The Prodigy, best-known for their violent lyrics and hard beats, will be at Glastonbury performing "Invaders Must Die," their first album since 2004.
The festival is held on the farm of founder Michael Eavis, who started the event in 1970 when entrance cost one pound and included free milk. This year's almost 200,000 tickets went for 175 pounds each.
Not just about music, the June 24-28 festival also has performing arts, theater, dance, spiritual-healing and circus events.