Music

The mind-blowing reason David Bowie performed Glastonbury revealed


It’s been revealed that David Bowie played Glastonbury in 2000 ‘by mistake’ (Picture: Jim Dyson/Getty Images)

David Bowie’s iconic 2000 Glastonbury performance almost didn’t happen. 

Bowie, who died in 2016 at 69 years old, wasn’t interested in performing at the festival and never would have if he hadn’t been more or less tricked into it by his PR manager. 

While it’s hard to imagine the icon being anything other than highly sought-after, Bowie’s popularity supposedly experienced a lull in the late 90s, and his team ‘couldn’t give away tickets’ to his gigs. 

Given this dip in public interest, organisers’ suspicion that Bowie’s act wouldn’t be explosive enough for festivalgoers, and Bowie’s own lack of interest, it seemed there was no hope Ziggy Stardust showing up at Glastonbury.

As a result, Bowie’s publicist, Alan Edwards, 68, took matters into his own hands and leaked a story to the press that Bowie might be taking the stage at Worthy Farm to drum up publicity. 

After the story ran, Glastonbury organisers were so overwhelmed by calls from enthusiastic fans that Bowie was almost immediately announced as a festival headliner. 

Bowie’s Glastonbury performance is considered one of the festival’s most iconic sets of all time (Picture: Jon Super/Redferns)
Publicist Alan Edwards revealed the trick that made the headlining set possible in a recent interview (Picture: Hayley Madden/Redferns)

Edwards recently told the Rockonteurs podcast about the clever trick: ‘We had this period in the Nineties where we couldn’t give away tickets — there were tickets available.

‘What we did, we came up with this strategy of going to the nationals and the editors were big, big David fans.

‘There’s a moment where he does Glastonbury by mistake,’ he explained. 

‘Michael Eavis didn’t want him — he was worried he was going to do a Tin Machine set, a little drum and bass set. And David just didn’t want to do it.’

Bowie reportedly told his publicists, ‘You naughty boys, don’t ever do that again, but thank you very much, that was brilliant.’ when he discovered the trick (Picture: Jon Super/Redferns)
Bowie supposedly did not want to play the festival originally (Picture: Julian Makey/REX/Shutterstock)

Edwards went on to say that his plan to leak the story went better than he thought it would: ‘The Sunday Times went a lot bigger on it than I expected, front page: “Bowie to play Glastonbury.”’ he said. 

‘The phones went crazy at Glastonbury, they rang off the hook like never. By the end of that day David was headlining Glastonbury.’

Edwards continued: ‘After three days I get a message from David and it said something like, “You naughty boys, don’t ever do that again but thank you very much, that was brilliant.”’

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