Sunday, 28 June 2009

Tributes to Michael Jackson at Glastonbury

Updated 3rd July 2009 with Video footage of his O2 rehearsal just 2 days before MJ dies !

"Smile" singer Allen wore a single white glove during her set Friday

Just released:
Michael Jackson 2 days before his untimely
death on 25th June 2009,
rehearsing for the London concerts
that will now never happen.

GLASTONBURY , Tributes to Michael Jackson kept coming at Glastonbury music festival as fans looked forward to a landmark appearance by another rock legend, Bruce Springsteen, on Saturday.

Many of the 140,000 festival goers were sporting T-shirts with slogans like "Michael Jackson RIP" and "I was at Glasto when Jacko died", while graffiti paying tribute to "The King of Pop" adorned tents.

The T-shirts were printed hastily by enterprising stallholders when news of the death emerged as the festival started Thursday.

Some revellers were starting to strip off as the sun shone brightly on the 900 acre site on a farm in south-west England -- a welcome contrast to the traditionally muddy conditions.

Stars like Lily Allen have already paid tribute to Jackson in their acts -- "Smile" singer Allen wore a single white glove during her set Friday, echoing one of Jackson's favourite wardrobe accessories.

The Streets covered "Billie Jean" and Gabriella Cilmi incorporated a snippet from the song in her set.

Rapper Pharrell Williams, who performed with his band N*E*R*D, said Jackson and his producer Quincy Jones had "opened the door for human beings to explore a higher level of musical consciousness".

Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis added: "You realise what a fantastic legend we've lost, the like of which we can't really replace. As an exponent of song and dance, no-one came close".

Many fans were waiting eagerly to see whether former Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker will mention Jackson's death during his set late Saturday.

Cocker invaded the stage when Jackson was performing "Earth Song" live at an awards ceremony in 1996 and made disrespectful gestures.

Although there has been no official tribute at Glastonbury, many revellers took part in impromptu mass sing-alongs to some of his best-known hits as "Billie Jean" and "Thriller" blared from food stalls and tents.

Following a headline set from Neil Young Friday, Springsteen, known as "The Boss", will be the biggest draw Saturday.

With reunited Britpop heroes Blur headlining Sunday, the line-up represents a return to Glastonbury's rock roots after a more leftfield excursion last year, when US rapper Jay-Z topped the bill.

That move was criticised by some festival goers as well as Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher, prompting Jay-Z to hit back by covering Oasis's hit "Wonderwall" in his set.

"I'll be going to Springsteen and I went to Jay-Z last year," said one fan, 32-year-old John. "It was a great performance but was a one-off. Glastonbury is primarily a rock festival so it's nice to return to its roots."

Australian veteran Rolf Harris received an enthusiastic reception from the crowd Saturday, performing songs like "Two Little Boys" as fans chanted and waved inflatable kangaroos.

Other acts playing Saturday include Pete Doherty, Spinal Tap, Dizzee Rascal, Florence and the Machine and La Roux.

A host of celebrities have been spotted on site ranging from US singer Katy Perry to Sarah Brown, wife of the British prime minister, who was promoting a motherhood charity.

Crime and medical emergencies are down from last year.

Local police said 290 crimes had been recorded and 116 arrests made, most drug-related, while some 1,1793 people have used the medical tents.


The death of one of the world’s greatest pop stars is having a global impact, but social media brings into sharp focus the scale of the world’s shock and sadness. Previously, we might have learned of a pop star’s passing via TV, or a friend or coworker: now knowledge is immediate, and mourning has become more public than private: a collective expression of loss.

According to the Twitter tracking tool Twist (incidentally, Twitter appears to be straining under the weight of the tributes to the star), 22.61% of Tweets currently contain the phrase “Michael Jackson”. “MJ”, meanwhile, accounts for 9% of Tweets right now. More than 25% contain the name “Michael”. In total, at least 30% of Tweets are remarking upon the star’s tragic passing, and that’s likely an underestimate.

Social media’s role in rapidly distributing globally-significant news like this will likely be analysed in great depth over the coming weeks. It’s notable that despite early news reports of Michael’s passing on blogs, the timing of the tributes coincided with confirmation by the LA Times – for the most critical information, it seems, we continue to trust mainstream news the most.

Related Links

Michael Jackson Fan Club

Share your memory of Michael Jackson

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