Emily Eavis has defended Glastonbury’s line-up this year after criticism for a perceived lack of rock acts on the main stages.

For 2024, dance-pop titan Dua Lipa, pop-rock staples Coldplay and US R&B star SZA are set to headline, with country-pop icon Shania Twain taking the legends slot. Among the other artists playing the main stages include Little Simz, Burna Boy, Disclosure, Jungle and The Streets.

Some fans have complained about the lack of rock, but co-organiser Eavis – the daughter of Glasto founder Michael – has said that the main line-up simply reflects what’s going on in the music industry.

“I think the line-up reflects what’s happening in the music world at the moment – there aren’t a lot of new rock acts to choose from if I’m honest,” she told PA. “Hopefully that will emerge again, my heyday was 1995 with Pulp and Oasis and Radiohead – and that was great, but music changes all the time and right now this is where we’re at.”

She explained that, when the line-up does lean more towards rock, the festival is criticised then too. “Every year, we’ve been criticised for being too rock, too grime, too hip hop, too pop – it’s just part of our year. Generally, it’s not from the public – everybody’s really happy and excited to be here,” she said.

Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys
Arctic Monkeys (lead singer Alex Turner pictured) headlined Glastonbury last year. CREDIT: Samir Hussein/Getty Images

Last year, the Pyramid Stage saw a more rock-oriented set of headliners in Arctic Monkeys, Guns N’ Roses and Elton John, while US desert rockers Queens of the Stone Age headlined the Other Stage. However, in 2022, Billie Eilish, Paul McCartney and Kendrick Lamar headlined, while 2019 saw The Killers and The Cure alongside Stormzy.

Back in 2008, when Jay-Z became the first rapper to headline the festival, the decision to give rap such a prominent position on the line-up was criticised by some rock fans – including Noel Gallagher, who said: “Glastonbury has a tradition of guitar music and even when they throw the odd curveball in on a Sunday night you go ‘Kylie Minogue?’ I don’t know about it. But I’m not having hip-hop at Glastonbury. It’s wrong.”

While rock might not feature as prominently this year, there’s still plenty for rock fans to get their teeth into. PJ Harvey is playing the Pyramid Stage tonight (June 28) at 18:00, while the Other Stage will see the likes of Idles, Bloc Party and Soft Play across the weekend.

Elsewhere at the festival, which runs until Sunday (June 30), artists including Gossip, Fontaines D.C., Kim Gordon, Skindred, Ocean Colour Scene, Mannequin Pussy, and The Vaccines will be playing.

Check back at NME here for the latest news, reviews, interviews, photos, rumours and more from Glastonbury 2024. Check out the NMEliveblog here for all the latest Glastonbury action as it happens.

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