How to Earn a Spot at Glastonbury

A few weeks ago, I read an article from NME that was in response to an interview with James Arthur. In his interview with This Morning, James Arthur was debating why X Factor acts didn’t seem to be taken seriously as musicians and why no X Factor winner has ever been invited to play at Glastonbury.

With the festival kicking off today, I thought it a good time to air my own opinions on the matter, and specifically to respond to Mark Beaumont who wrote the article I previously mentioned.

Before I start, I just want to say that I have nothing but respect for Mark Beaumont and NME magazine as music is a huge part of my life (before finding PR, my dream job was to be a music journalist). I simply have differing opinions that I feel strongly about and want to get across.

The festival everyone wants to attend

When I was younger, I always dreamed about going to Glastonbury. The amazing headliners, all the celebrities that attended and I knew the camping and muck wouldn’t phase me if I went. I remember always reading up on who attended and I’m not ashamed to say, I was always interested in what everyone was wearing. Millie Mackintosh forever being the inspiration for my own outdoor concert outfits (Tennents Vital and Belsonic are the closest you can get to a festival in Northern Ireland and you won’t find any tents whatsoever).

Recently though? It seems like Glastonbury has gone a bit downhill. I couldn’t even tell you who’s headlining this year and there just doesn’t seem to be the same interest or hype around the festival. I always thought when it was my time to go to a festival it would be a toss up between Glastonbury and V Fest – now I’m thinking about saving up for Coachella instead because that’s a lineup I can get behind.

How to earn a spot at Glastonbury

Back to the main reason for this post; how to earn a spot at Glastonbury. How does one earn their right to perform at the festival? According to Mark Beaumont, James Arthur hasn’t yet earned his. But somehow, Lewis Capaldi has.

I’m not bashing Lewis Capaldi as I’m a huge fan. I’ve written about seeing him live when not many people had heard of him (he only had four songs back then) and about his social media strategy.

BUT how has someone that’s been around five minutes earned their spot when James Arthur apparently has not? Not that money has anything to do with it, but he’s reportedly the highest-paid singer in the world, has the best-selling single of any X Factor winner ever, two albums, 18 singles, an upcoming sold-out UK tour and in my opinion, he is one of the best male vocalists of this generation.

So just how can someone say that James Arthur hasn’t earned his spot at Glastonbury? Saying that he hasn’t earned it is rather insulting in my opinion. Yes, James Arthur has made mistakes in the past (as Mark kindly mentioned) but who hasn’t? Liam Gallagher, Alex Turner and Kanye West have all graced a Glastonbury stage so why not JA or anyone else from the X Factor for that matter?

‘Not Glastonbury enough’

Mark commented that when you think Glastonbury you don’t immediately think James Arthur but then, I wouldn’t instantly think Adele or Beyoncé but they’ve both played so what does that tell you?

If we look at who else is playing Glastonbury this year – Sam Fender, Dermot Kennedy (I’m a huge fan but he’s only at the beginning of his music career) and even Ryan McMullan (a boy from Derry in Northern Ireland who does a great cover of The Streets of New York) have all somehow earned their spots on a Glastonbury stage this year with not one album between the three of them. Sam Fender has an album coming out in August, Dermot Kennedy in September and Ryan McMullan has no talk of an upcoming album from what I can see.

So please Mark, do tell me the criteria for playing Glastonbury? What justifies someone as having earned their spot to play?

This isn’t my campaign to get James Arthur to Glastonbury, I’m just astounded that someone can publish an article saying that James Arthur hasn’t earned a spot at Glastonbury when musicians such as Lewis Capaldi, Sam Fender and Tom Walker have.



  1. Gilly Seymour
    June 27, 2019 / 6:02 pm


  2. Sarah Vanstone-Giles
    June 27, 2019 / 7:03 pm

    Brilliant article and so true JA should definitely be invited to play at Glastonbury, he is a brilliant singer/songwriter and has worked bloody hard to get where he is.

  3. Marian Sedgwick
    June 27, 2019 / 7:34 pm

    Thanks for bringing this debate to the fore and responding to Mark Beaumont’s article. Fans of James Arthur, of which I am one, are mistified. Just what does he have to do! Great article and thanks again.

  4. Gilly Seymour
    June 27, 2019 / 7:36 pm

    Many thanks for a great Article. I just don’t understand, what poor James has to do, to prove how Phenomenal he is. He has out sold gigs & written more music then the names mentioned. Glastonbury should be ashamed. Can you imagine the fans James would bring there.., WOW. One day James, fingers🀞 πŸ™πŸ’™πŸ¦‰

  5. James Arthur Shows
    June 27, 2019 / 7:38 pm


  6. Dee
    June 27, 2019 / 7:47 pm

    No sure what JA has to do to get here…the man is unreal Glastonbury should be ashamed!! Mr Arthur works his butt of from day 1 he deserves this and more

  7. Sally G
    June 27, 2019 / 8:06 pm

    Well reasoned article. I have seen James perform many times. Hes not the ballady bloke everyone assumes he is. He knows how to rock it and deserves the opportunity to perform.

  8. Angela Connell
    June 27, 2019 / 8:19 pm

    thank you for this very well balanced article, I couldn’t have put it better myself.

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