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Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 at Rudolstadt-Festival 2019. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Glastonbury 2020 Has Been Cancelled

After initially moving forward with a lineup that included Burna Boy, Seun Kuti and other African acts; organizers of the music festival have now announced its cancellation.

UPDATE 3/18:

Glastonbury 2020 has officially been cancelled due to the coronavirus. The organizers made the announcement on Wednesday, after confirming headliners just last week amid the outbreak of COVID-19. The full lineup included acts like Burna Boy, Seun Kuti and Sampa the Great. It was later determined that the festival, scheduled for June 24-28, would fall extremely close to the predicted peak of coronavirus in the UK.

"Clearly this was not a course of action we hoped to take for our 50th anniversary event," said organizers in a statement, "but following the new government measures announced this week—and in times of such unprecedented uncertainty—this is now our only viable option." The full announcement was made via the festival's Instagram page, which also outlined refund policies for ticket holders. Read the full statement below.


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The organizers of Glastonbury, the UK's premiere music and arts festival, have moved forward with announcing its 2020 anniversary lineup despite coronavirus fears.

The extensive lineup was unveiled last week, and features Burna Boy, as well as fellow Nigerian musician Seun Kuti, who was set to perform at Coachella this year before the festival was postponed till October. Zambian artist Sampa the Great is also slated to perform.

The announcement was made on March 13, in the midst of coronavirus shutdowns. "As things stand we are still working hard to deliver our 50th anniversary festival in June," said the festival's co-organiser Emily Eavis in an Instagram post. "We are very proud of the bill that we have put together over the last year or so," she added.

"No one has a crystal ball to see exactly where we will all be 15 weeks from now, but we are keeping our fingers firmly crossed that it will be here at Worthy Farm for the greatest show on earth."

This year's Glastonbury headliners include Kendrick Lamar, Paul McCartney, Diana Ross and Taylor Swift.


Several major festivals, concerts and other large gatherings have been either postponed or cancelled in the wake of the pandemic. Many major cities across the world have restricted large gatherings, with some putting a cap at more than 10 people. It appears the UK's response to the pandemic, however, has been less proactive than other European countries, which may reflect that organizer's decision to move forward with the announcement.

Glastonbury, as it stands, is scheduled to take place between June 24-28. Despite its dates being several weeks out, according to medical experts in the UK, it is not likely that the virus would have slowed down by then. According to a report from the the Guardian, it is believed that the peak of the outbreak will occur between late May and mid June, just days ahead of the festival's opening date.

Still, uncertainty remains, and as of Tuesday the organizers have not announced an official cancellation or postponement of the festival.

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Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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