If there is one way to endear yourself to the British public it is to make fun of their institutions. Whether it is the weather, the transport, or the Royal Family, picking apart one of the country’s dearest pieces of iconography assimilates you into the culture very quickly. This was something Jay-Z had clearly figured out when he appeared at the Glastonbury festival in 2008.
Hundreds of thousands of music lovers descend on to the fields of Glastonbury every summer, a five-day celebration of all things culture that has become one of Britain’s most loved institutions and an international leader in live music. However, when Jay was readied to take on a pivotal headline slot, the newspaper columns were filled with anger.
The festivalgoers of old were beginning to lose their grip on modern music and the changing tastes. They had previously seen the festival as a primary rock celebration. However, with Jay, the mood was changing and now hip hop was entering the fray. To react to the provocation, Jay-Z provided a perfect moment of hilarity.
Jay-Z’s headline performance famously saw him pretend to play the guitar and sing-a-long to ‘Wonderwall’ in retaliation to Noel Gallagher’s provocative comment of “I’m not having hip hop at Glastonbury. It’s wrong.”
By the end of his set, however, Jay Z had proved all of his doubters wrong and provided one of the most iconic performances in the history of the festival that proved that hip-hop was here to stay at the top of the Somerset bash’s bill.
The Verve and Kings Of Leon were the other two headliners of the festival that year, who both provided sets much more forgettable than Jay Z, with the rapper delivering one of the most memorable Glasto performances of recent years.