Belfast Telegraph

Emily Eavis reveals death threats after booking Kanye West for Glastonbury

The festival organiser said the rapper’s set helped her book Adele the next year.

Kanye West performing on The Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival (Yui Mok/PA)
Kanye West performing on The Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival (Yui Mok/PA)

By Laura Harding, PA Senior Entertainment Correspondent

Emily Eavis has said she received death threats after booking Kanye West to headline Glastonbury in 2015.

The festival organiser said she was shocked by the level of criticism she received at the time but directly credits the rapper’s set with helping her book Adele for the following year.

In an extract of a new book to celebrate Glastonbury’s 50th anniversary, published by The Guardian, Eavis wrote: “As soon as we announced that he was playing, a petition sprang up – started by someone who had never been to Glastonbury – saying Kanye shouldn’t play because he wasn’t right for us.

“The media jumped right on it. That kind of negative story will always get clicks and attention, but the coverage becomes self-fulfilling, too.

“Again, we had to reassure the people around the artist that it would all work, that these stories don’t reflect the attitude of people coming to the festival – or in the UK, for that matter. It’s just a load of hot air.

“The criticism we got that year was pretty extreme. And a lot of it was quite personal, as people knew I booked the acts.

“I was an obvious target. As the child of the founder of something, you’re always going to be criticised, because you’re perceived as doing things differently to how it was done before.

Kanye West on stage (Yui Mok/PA)

“I’ve had to try to develop a thick skin about it, as it can get pretty unpleasant on social media.

“You can’t please everyone, and the haters tend to be the ones shouting the loudest.

“I actually had death threats in 2015, which seemed a little harsh – especially given that we had booked what we considered to be one of the most exciting and innovative artists of his generation. But it worked out for Kanye in the end.”

She added: “Kanye’s set also led directly to Adele agreeing to headline the following year.

Adele on stage at Glastonbury in 2016 (Yui Mok/PA)

“I’d been trying to persuade her, but I think she was unsure. She didn’t really need to do it: she was already playing stadiums, and with her it almost seems like the less she does, the bigger she gets.

“But I think that deep down she wanted to, as she’d been coming to Glastonbury since she was a little kid.

“I walked her on to the platform next to the stage just before Kanye came on, and we looked out at this huge crowd chanting his name.

“I said: ‘Are you ready for it? Come on. Next year?’ And she looked at me with a twinkle in her eye and said: ‘I’m gonna do it.’ It was such a brilliant moment.”



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