Why was Beyoncé's Glastonbury performance so controversial?

26 June 2020, 17:04

Beyonce performed an incredible headline set at Glastonbury 2011
Beyonce performed an incredible headline set at Glastonbury 2011. Picture: Getty

Beyonce's 2011 headline slot at Glastonbury is being replayed as part of the 2020 virtual festival.

Beyoncé at Glastonbury in 2011 was a masterpiece. Anyone who was there will agree and to this day it remains one of the great Glastonbury headline performances of all time.

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So as Beyonce's 2011 Glastonbury headline set is replayed as part of the festival's virtual coverage for 2020 we take a look back at why Bey's booking was so controversial at the time.

Beyonce performed a headline set at Glastonbury in 2011
Beyonce performed a headline set at Glastonbury in 2011. Picture: Getty

Cast your minds back to 2011 when Beyoncé was booked to headline Glastonbury for the first time. The two previous years of Glastonbury had seen headline slots from Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, Blur, Gorillaz, Muse and Stevie Wonder, so Beyoncé was to become the first solo female artist booked to headline the festival since Sinead O'Connor in 1990 (Kylie Minogue replaced original headliners Basement Jaxx in 2005).

With her performance, Beyoncé also became the first solo black female artist ever to perform a headline set on the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury.

Bey's husband Jay-Z had controversially headlined Glastonbury two years before in 2009 with many people claiming that it wasn't a rapper's place to play a headline slot at one of the world's most iconic festival's.

Beyoncé's booking at Glastonbury was also met with some discourse from festival-goers, with many disappointed to see the R&B star given Glastonbury's much-coveted closing spot on the festival's Sunday night.

But as she always does, Beyoncé put on a show to remember and her Glastonbury 2011 performance will go down in the history books as one of the greatest ever. At the time, she even broke the record for most television views for a single performance according to the BBC.

Beyonce at Glastonbury is 90 minutes of pure Bey greatness, with classic hits such as 'Crazy In Love' making the cut, whilst Bey even found time to perform some of her hits with Destiny's Child, including 'Bootylicious' and 'Say My Name'.

So as we watch back Beyoncé's Glastonbury 2011 headline set as part of the virtual 2020 festival, remember just how much of a pioneer Queen B truly is.

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