The pop star who refused to play Glastonbury 2024 because the fee was too low (2024)

Popstar Nadine Shah has made headlines after revealing her decision to decline an offer to perform at this year’s Glastonbury Festival due to insufficient pay.

The Mercury-nominated singer took to her X account to address the swirling rumours about her appearance at the 2024 Worthy Farm event.

Confirming that she turned down the gig, Shah wrote, ‘The rumours are untrue. I am NOT playing @glastonbury I would have liked to but I wasn’t offered a televised stage so I declined. It’s too expensive a hit for me to take otherwise.’

She then shared a follow-up post, which read: ‘It’s just a reality that playing live is super expensive and if you can justify the costs (like being on telly and having a wider reach) then sometimes you take the hit. Otherwise no, we’ve all bills to pay.’

Despite being perhaps the most iconic music festival in the world, Glastonbury is known for paying artists almost nothing in comparison to their usual fees.

While this is due to organisers making large donations to charity, it still tends to disqualify smaller artists from performing.

Festival organisers Michael and Emily Eavis said in an interview with BBC 6 Music’s Matt Everitt that in 2017 headliners Katy Perry, Radiohead, and Ed Sheeran were offered ‘less than 10 per cent of what they’d get paid from playing any of the other major British festivals.’

While the exposure Glastonbury offers often makes it worth the financial sacrifice for artists, performers who aren’t covered by BBC coverage rarely see the same benefits.

To be clear. If I’m offered LESS money than what it costs me to play a show then I WONT play it. BUT if there is the bonus of it being televised I MAY take the hit for the exposure. Sorry if you find this crude and sorry to break it to you but music is my JOB. https://t.co/t1Xs9Gp2iP

— Nadine Shah (@nadineshah) June 6, 2024

Shah has long been outspoken about how streaming has negatively affected artists, forcing them to rely on income from live performances.

In 2021, during the Coronavirus pandemic, Shah’s own financial situation was so devastated by her inability to gig that she was forced to move in with her parents.

She discussed her situation in a Guardian article about the state of the music industry: ‘The pandemic obliterated festivals and gigs, meaning we were forced to survive on streaming income alone,’ Shah wrote.

‘As a co*cky northern lass, I thought I’d be OK: “C’mon Nadine, you’ll be all right, you’ve been nominated for a bloody Mercury prize, you’ve over 100,000 monthly Spotify listeners. You’ll make the rent,”‘ she continued.

But as it ended up, things quickly grew more dire than she expected. She continued: ‘I was foolish. The situation was such that I temporarily had to move back in with my parents over the summer. Not the worst thing to happen, but still not a great look for a thirtysomething pop star. Like most of my musician friends who rely on gigs, I found myself in dire straits. (If only I actually were in Dire Straits.)’

Now, Shah is trying to avoid ending up in that situation again by only playing gigs that pay well.

She continued on X the day after her original update: ‘To be clear. If I’m offered LESS money than what it costs me to play a show then I WONT play it. BUT if there is the bonus of it being televised I MAY take the hit for the exposure,’

‘Sorry if you find this crude and sorry to break it to you but music is my JOB,’ she concluded.

She also shared another tweet, responding to a fan who found it unfair that Glastonbury pays so little.

‘Most festivals DO pay well though. I was offered literally a fifth of what I am offered for other shows this summer,’ she responded.

Several celebrities responded to Shah’s posts voicing their support. Former BBC 6 Music DJShaun Keaveny wrote: ‘That makes complete sense. It’s sad that the hegemony of thought is still that artists can afford to give their time for no money.’

Sister Bliss of Faithless, who will be performing at Glastonbury, wrote: ‘It’s time they change their booking policy and stop pretending to be a charity. And I say that as playing the best shows of my little life there. The fact booking a headliner this year was a nightmare for them speaks volumes.’

Shah’s posts comes as Spotify faces backlash for the tiny percentage it pays artists, as well as their decision to make a streaming threshold of 1,000 plays before songs are able to generate royalties.

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The pop star who refused to play Glastonbury 2024 because the fee was too low (1)

The pop star who refused to play Glastonbury 2024 because the fee was too low (2024)
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