Why Playing Glastonbury Was Such A Big Deal For Katy Perry

Photo: Ki Price
There's no denying Katy Perry is one of the defining pop stars of our generation. She's sold an estimated 100 million records, given us globe-conquering hits like "Roar," "I Kissed A Girl," and "Firework," and even played the biggest gig going: the Super Bowl halftime show.
But her performance tonight on Glastonbury's iconic Pyramid Stage was still a landmark for the singer. "This makes me feel cool," Perry told the crowd after singing her second song of the evening, recent single "Chained to the Rhythm".
"I don’t ever really feel cool," she continued. "Am I cool yet? What is cool? Who cares, there's so many people here! I didn’t know if you even liked me."
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She went on to charm the crowd with renditions of songs from her latest album, Witness, as well as huge hits like "California Gurls," "Teenage Dream," "Dark Horse," and of course "Roar."
Although Perry was rightly thrilled to be performing at Glastonbury, it's worth noting that she wasn't on stage as a top-billed headliner. This year's trio of headline slots went to Radiohead, Foo Fighters, and Ed Sheeran.
In fact, the last 10 Glastonbury festivals have given headline slots to just three female artists: Adele (2016), Florence and the Machine (2015), and Beyoncé (2011), and gender parity is a widespread problem on the UK festival scene. According to a Press Association study , over the last decade, just 14% of headline acts at the UK's biggest music festivals have been all-female or included at least one female member in their lineup. Meanwhile, just 27% of headline acts have included at least one BAME member in their lineup.
Glastonbury and many other music festivals are clearly events which celebrate all kinds of different performers - Jeremy Corbyn, a politician, just bossed it on Glasto's Pyramid Stage. But it's surely about time that this commitment to equality was reflected right at the top of their lineups: year in, year out.
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