Dolly Parton’s Glastonbury performance was billed as a light-hearted sing-a-long, but the rhinestone clad ‘Queen of Country’ turned out to be the biggest success of the whole festival. With over 100,000 revellers squeezing in to see her at the Pyramid stage, and thousands dressed as a homage to her, she pulled in a headline worthy crowd, and the biggest of Glastonbury 2014. All this, and at 4.20pm on a hazy Sunday afternoon.
Dolly’s performance redefined the term ‘crowdpleaser’, she was entertaining, funny and occasionally ridiculous, but she was also the biggest talking point. We know the music industry is constantly and almost relentlessly presenting us with new bands, artists and DJ’s, so its fascinating to see a 68 year old female country star become the triumphant focal point of the biggest music event in the world.
But has her new found popularity highlighted a slight cultural shift? Are we now looking to iconic figures of the past for current day inspiration? Just before the festival, Facebook went into overdrive, sharing plans for a flash mob dance to Jolene, a song released way back in 1974. We know that Dolly wasn’t the only popular nostalgic icon. Debbie Harry, who is nearly 70, pulled a huge crowd at the Other Stage.
Parton’s popularity is evident, especially for the Gen Y generation, but this popularity shift means that the headline shows, typically the slot reserved for the most iconic and popular, were almost irrelevant.
Does this mean that we’re struggling for current day icons? Watch this space.