Speculation has been rife about this year’s Glastonbury Festival headliners, but the big reveal has left some music fans “unimpressed” and “underwhelmed”.

The rumour mill had featured “music legends Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Billy Joel and untouchable global superstar Taylor Swift”, said Neil McCormick in The Telegraph. But “the actual Glastonbury headline bill looks a bit less vintage jukebox and more like the excitable soundtrack to a children’s birthday party”, he said.

Appearing on the Pyramid Stage this year will be Dua Lipa, Coldplay and SZA, with Shania Twain playing the “legendary Sunday slot”, said MailOnline. As the “only genuinely global British star” of recent times, Dua Lipa is a “smart pick”, said McCormick. Her “super-drilled hit-packed show” is sure to “intrigue the uncommitted as well as delighting her fans”. She’ll be “set to showcase” her upcoming third album, having “previously played on the John Peel Stage (now Woodsies) in 2016 and 2017”, said NME.

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Making their fifth appearance, Coldplay will become the most headlined act in Glastonbury’s 54-year history, said McCormick. And they’ll be “bouncing on to the stage like the labradoodles of rock, sure to cheer up even the most sceptical with their gormless, effervescent joy”.

‘Gender split’

Speaking last year, festival organiser Emily Eavis said: “I’ve always been really passionate about gender split. It is difficult with female artists because there aren’t enough headliners.”

However, this year, the gender breakdown is certainly “swinging away from last year’s pale male stale headline bill”, said McCormick. It will be the first time “female acts have taken two of the three headline slots”, said the Mail. 

SZA’s fans believed she’d be headlining “due to her UK touring commitments aligning”, said NME. The “freshly minted US RnB star” attracted “mainstream UK attention” with the 2023 hit “Kill Bill”, said McCormick, and “her seductive yet fiercely intelligent songcraft”.

Shania Twain takes the Sunday “legend” slot previously “occupied by stars such as Kylie Minogue and Diana Ross”, said the Mirror.

Twain was, of course, a “mainstream superstar of the 1990s”, said McCormick, with her “slick country pop anthems”. She’ll “keep the party going”, in spite of “suspicions that her voice is shot” and there’s a “bit too much miming going on for those of us who remember when singers actually used to have to be able to sing live for their supper”.

‘Fans unimpressed’

Recent Glastonbury headliners have been “so legendary that you never thought you’d actually see them live”, said City A.M. of the likes of Paul McCartney and Elton John. However, this year “fans were unimpressed by the announcement”, said the Mail. Many were “underwhelmed” by Coldplay, while others were “surprised” by SZA, who has “never scored a UK number one”. 

Taking to X, many “expressed their disappointment”, said the paper, posting comments such as “the most mediocre set of headliners at Glastonbury ever” and “imagine wading through two foot deep mud to be greeted by a Coldplay headline set”.

These are “world-class talents”, said McCormick in The Telegraph, but there is very little rock. It is the “poppiest, shiniest and most mainstream youth-oriented Glastonbury bill in… well, ever”.

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