Taylor Swift to headline 2020 Glastonbury festival

Swift is the first female headline performer since Adele in 2016 and the sixth solo female headliner in the festival’s 50-year history

Taylor Swift will close the 2020 Glastonbury festival with a headline performance on the Pyramid stage on Sunday night.

“I’m ecstatic to tell you that I’ll be headlining Glastonbury on its 50th anniversary – See you there! 💋”, Swift tweeted.

Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis said: “I’m so pleased to announce Taylor Swift will be headlining the Sunday at Glastonbury 2020. She’s one of the biggest stars in the world and her songs are absolutely amazing. We’re so delighted.”

Festival co-organiser Emily Eavis added: “Taylor is one of the biggest and best artists on the planet, and we’re just so pleased that she’s coming here to Worthy Farm to join us for our fiftieth birthday celebrations.”

Swift joins Paul McCartney, who will headline on Saturday, and Diana Ross, who will play the “legends” slot on Sunday teatime.

Swift, who turned 30 on Friday, released her seventh album Lover earlier this year. It was recently announced that it is the only album of 2019 to sell more than 1m “pure” copies – ie physical and digital sales, not including streams. It placed at No 27 in the Guardian’s list of the best albums of 2019, hailed as a work that “paints in complex emotional shades and finds an artist known for her strict adherence to her brand trying lots of new things”.

It is her first album for Universal/Republic after leaving her former label, Big Machine, in late 2018. Swift has been frank about her unsuccessful fight to purchase the master recordings of the six albums she recorded for Big Machine after the label was bought by mogul Scooter Braun in June 2019. Accusing Braun – who manages Kanye West and Justin Bieber – of persistent bullying, Swift described it as “my worst case scenario”.

Taylor Swift arrives on the red carpet for the Billboard Women in Music awards, Los Angeles, 12 December 2019.
Taylor Swift arrives on the red carpet for the Billboard Women in Music awards, Los Angeles, 12 December 2019. Photograph: Mike Blake/Reuters

The situation has played out very publicly in subsequent months. On Thursday 12 December, Swift accepted Billboard magazine’s woman of the decade award. She used her acceptance speech to criticise Braun for allegedly relying on the private equity firms 23 Capital and the Carlyle Group in addition to the Soros family in order to purchase the record label. Her cause has drawn support from congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and US presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren.

She also hailed a new generation of female pop peers including Lizzo, Dua Lipa and Billie Eilish, and advocated for the increased presence of women in technical and professional roles in the music industry. “Rather than fighting to be taken seriously in their fields, these women are still struggling to have a chance to even be in the room,” she told the Hollywood Palladium.

This month, she stars as Bombalurina in the new adaptation of Cats. Her latest single, Christmas Tree Farm, is in contention for the Christmas No 1 spot.

Glastonbury 2020 marks Swift’s first appearance at the festival. She is the first female performer to headline since Adele in 2016 and the sixth solo female headliner in the festival’s 50-year history.

Festival co-organiser Emily Eavis has said that the gender split of performers at next year’s festival will be “as close to 50-50 as we can”. She told Music Week in November: “It’s as important to have females on the bill as much as men but the pool – certainly on the headliner front – is not as big. So we have to work on that as an industry and nurture all these women coming through.”

Friday night’s headliner is still to be announced. Emily Eavis has clarified that it is a male performer who has never appeared at the festival before. Pulitzer prize-winning US rapper Kendrick Lamar has been heavily rumoured.

Many music fans long for a set from Fleetwood Mac, who have never headlined Glastonbury, but organiser Michael Eavis complained at 2019’s festival: “I can’t afford them at the moment! They’ll have to bring their price down because we can’t afford it. But they said the other day that they really want to do it and if they don’t do it before they die they’ll go to hell.”


Laura Snapes

The GuardianTramp

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