My name's Matt and I'm a Glastonbury virgin.
There, I said it. I'm going to Glastonbury in 2011 for the first time ever. It's odd that I've never been, because out of all the people I know, I'm the person who should have been. And I've been to pretty much every other festival, so I'm not really sure why I've never done Glasto. But this year the planets aligned and I have a ticket, despite the most confusing of ticket buying systems. The festival is taking 2012 off too (with some regular goers assuring me it will be more than one year out of action) so it looks like I got in just in time.
So I've spent a lot more time than normal pondering the question: just who will the three Pyramid Stage headliners be?
And with the risk of substantial egg-on-face, here's my six likely candidates.
For: Apparently one of the three is already booked, and it's an American act. I say apparently, I'm pretty sure I heard Emily Eavis say this a while ago, so I think that's accurate. Plus, he's still actively touring and has more hits than he knows what to do with.
Against: It just seems too good to be true really, but I can't think of any real reason why not.
For: It's doesn't take much imagination to presume they might be the favourites given they were booked for 2010. And as ambivalent as I am towards them normally, they've got the hits to get a field full of inebriated people going, and that's what you want from a festival headliner. They're touring again at the moment.
Against: They've never managed to play it before, so perhaps all the ducks being a row in 2010 really was a one-off.
For: They're established as a Glasto band (having headlined in 2005) and they have the hits to fill a headline set. Plus, they have a new album out next year, so will be back on the live circuit, and Chris Martin is good mates with Emily Eavis.
Against: Having headlined in 2005, it seems possibly too soon for them to be headlining again (though Pulp, more of whom below, topped the bill in 1995 and 1998, though the former was only as replacement for The Stone Roses). And they've always divided opinion, and if U2 were to headline too, would the combination of these two giants of radio rock be a little too pedestrian?
For: It seems written in the stars. After announcing their reformation for the Wireless festival in London, the band seem ripe for a Glastonbury headline slot. And Jarvis, the wag, tweeted recently about not being able to get a ticket for the festival, so how on earth could he get in. If that's not an elephant-sized hint, I don't know what is.
Against: The only reason I can really think of is if Coldplay, U2 and Prince all come through (and they were, before Pulp reformed, all heavily rumoured to be the headliners), then there'd be no room for Pulp.
Kings Of Leon
For: With a new album recently out, and as a solid fixture in the world's festival headlining slots, there are some practical reasons why the four piece could be back.
Against: It definitely seems too soon for them to be headlining again, given they did it in 2008. Plus, they're boring as shit live, so I won't be holding my breath for this.
For: Remarkably, Foos only seem (according to Wiki) to have played Glastonbury once, in 1998, third on the bill to James(!) and headliners Primal Scream. And with a new album due in the next few months, and two massive Milton Keynes Bowl shows announced for early July, they'll be touring and in the country. And they're definitely one of the best live bands out there, with a great catalogue amassed by now.
Against: Perhaps the Milton Keynes shows might negate the need to be headlining other UK festivals, especially in the same week, but then the Wireless/Glasto combo is one that's been done several times recently, including by Jay-Z, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen, so two massive shows in the same country clearly isn't seen as a problem for the big acts. But perhaps the fact that such a regular touring visitor to the UK as Foos hasn't done Glasto in a dozen years suggests there's something behind the scenes, but I've never heard anything along those lines.
And I guess I should also throw in a few other names I've heard, but I don't think any of these are as likely as the six above though some are more fanciful than others...
Beastie Boys (proper establishment now with new album due), Madonna (never done it, should have done it), Daft Punk (new album soon but probably not a Pyramid Stage headliner), The Rolling Stones (haven't heard any mention of them, though it would seem an obvious choice), The Stone Roses reformed (probably not while Hell's unfrozen) and Kylie Minogue (was meant to headline in 2005 before illness forced her to cancel).
So there we have it. What's that you say? Who would be my picks?
I'd LOVE to see Beastie Boys and Daft Punk have a crack at headlining the Pyramid stage, but can't see it I'm afraid. Be amazing if they appear somewhere on the bill though. Right, here it is. My head is telling me that these will be the three headliners in 2011:
But my heart is definitely looking for this combo to be announced: