Entertainment behind the scenes
Music, beer and wellington boots tend to top Glastonbury revellers’ must-have list. This year they have added another essential commodity — shade. Baking hot temperatures in the high 20s Celsius are reducing many of the 150,000 revellers in the southwest of England to a lethargic crawl as they struggle to cope with the heat, not to mention the hangover.
Walk around the sprawling rural site and you will see unusually large empty spaces and then hundreds of people seemingly randomly crammed in odd places — against walls, around trees in the middle of dusty tracks and under benches. Then it becomes clear why — they have found shade from the sun, which has been beating down on the site virtually uninterrupted for the last two days.
Medical services have attended to 2,100 incidents so far this year, way up on 2009, and most of them are heat-related. Meanwhile the fans don hats, shades, shorts and bikinis in the warmest Glastonbury that people can remember. And this, at a festival where rainfall, and hence shin-high mud, is what festivalgoers have come to expect. To make matters worse, on the main Pyramid stage on Saturday night are two of the hottest acts in pop — Shakira and Kylie Minogue. Oh, and the weather forecasts predict Sunday is going to be even hotter.
Unless your name is Taylor Swift or Michael Jackson, it’s been yet another tough year for pop stars. New discs from the likes of U2, Mariah Carey, Tim McGraw, Bon Jovi, 50 Cent and Norah Jones have sharply underperformed. Overall U.S. album sales in 2009 are on track to slide for the eighth time in nine years.
Shakira is the latest addition to the casualty list. The Colombian sex symbol‘s electronica-fueled new album looks to be her weakest performer in almost 10 years. “She Wolf,” Shakira’s third English-language recording, currently stands at No. 43 on the Billboard 200, two weeks after debuting at No. 15 with puny sales of 89,000 units. Sales to date stand at 158,000 — equivalent to what current Billboard 200 champ Susan Boyle’s debut album sold in its first 1.5 days, last month.