By Thomas Cowley
Metallica has recently made headlines due to their less-than-warm welcome at this years Glastonbury music festival primarily for the fact that they are a metal band at a non-metal show. A few weeks back, when Metallica was announced as one of the three headlining bands for the event, there was quite a large backlash from concert goes. Many were upset by the fact that a hard rock band was put on the bill for a festival that has historically been centered around folk, indie, and other “hippie/hipster” music with a self proclaimed “laid back” tone.
Mogwai, a Scottish band also performing at Glastonbury, has called Metallica Drummer Lars Ulrich “unbelievably bad” and frontman James Hetfield came under heavy criticism for his part as a narrator for “The Hunt”, a special on the History Channel that detailed the hunt for a Kodiak bear. In fact, a petition was started by Glastonbury fans in an attempt to have the band removed from the event.
How bad is public opinion exactly? According to a recent poll by British newspaper “The Independent”, about 4 out of 5 fans would like to sell or give away their tickets after it was announced that Metallica was attending the event. Some people might be asking, “If you don’t want to go, why don’t you sell your ticket?”. Well, they don’t because they can’t.
In 2007, Glastonbury implemented a new policy in which tickets included photographic ID of the buyer in order to prevent reselling & giving away tickets. Since the event sold out 137,000 tickets withing two hours that same year, it seemed as if fans were not concerned with the changes at the time.
Not only are fans upset about the booking, but now other institutions are backing similar statements. According to a spokesperson for the ticket marketplace, “These findings support widespread media reports that Metallica was a controversial choice to headline one of the world’s most iconic music festivals. Fans around the country have been left feeling done by, with the festival organizers holding back the headline announcement until after the final resale date. We believe that once you’ve bought a ticket it’s yours and if you want to sell it or give it away, you should be allowed to do so.”
“In this case, with an unpopular headline act announced late, ticket holders lose out because they can’t resell their tickets and Metallica fans lose out because they can’t buy them.”
If that is not a backhanded comment, then I don’t know what is. It is true that requiring a photo ID when you buy tickets just to prevent resales is a messed up policy. So you are telling me you cannot sell or giveaway tickets to friends, family, and the average passerby on the street in any way? You can’t buy gifts for people? Your friend can’t grab you a ticket while you are at work or in the bathroom or otherwise indisposed?
Of course the biggest slap to the face is the fact that one band, a band like Metallica, is apparently enough of an issue to ruin a 5 day event for 80% of the people who where going. Let’s look at that again: One band ruined and event for 80% of the people there. That is like saying one bad flavor ruined the variety pack. Do they not understand the concept of a festival show? There are multiple flavors for a reason. And why are these indie fans acting so hateful to one band? If there was one band (just one mind you) that was not a heavy rock band at a heavy rock show, but the rest of the event was great, no one would be looking to sell their tickets because of one performer.
How is it that metalheads and rock fans, traditionally the outcasts, are the ones acting more inclusive and more accepting? What happened to your “laid back” festival experience? It sounds like some people need to relax. If you truly hate them that much, then consider that timeslot as a time to get food, use the bathroom, or leaving the show. That way you won’t have to drive home surrounded by all those filthy metal fans.