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Festival goers complain about Glastonbury lineup as SZA fans defend star

"The bravery required to be alive in public is remarkable," the singer has posted since leaving the Glastonbury stage

By Alastair James

SZA on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury (Image: Aaron Parsons Photography)

SZA’s Glastonbury headline slot on Sunday (30 June) has fuelled debates around lineups and how acts are assigned stages. At the same time, fans of the artist are defending SZA after complaints about mic issues and her draw for audiences.

SZA took to the iconic Pyramid Stage on Sunday for the final night of Glastonbury 2024. She followed Dua Lipa on Friday (28 June) and Coldplay on Saturday (29 June) as headliners.

Her performance followed her turn at BST Hyde Park, a performance Attitude rated as five stars and described as “A world-leading show.” Sadly her Glastonbury didn’t get the same response.

The R&B star was troubled with mic issues in the first part of her set, which never helps. However, it’s been widely speculated that her getting the Sunday night headline slot was likely due to other acts, namely Madonna, falling through.

And while SZA is one of the most-streamed artists in the world with a catalogue of music worthy of Glastonbury, many have argued she did not have the draw necessary to win the Sunday slot. These arguments follow on from other complaints aimed at Glastonbury organisers over the 2024 festival about which acts gets which slots on which stages.

Both the Sugababes and Avril Lavigne were in high demand yet played on the smaller (compared to the Pyramid) West Holts and The Other Stage respectively. Festival organisers had to close the West Holts during the Sugababes’ Friday afternoon slot due to overcrowding, drawing the ire of fans.

“Barely anyone here SZA”

The opposite complaints arose concerning SZA, with one person posting on X: “Glastonbury have messed up big time here. Barely anyone here SZA.” The person also posted an image of the small for a headliner crowd.

Another X user also posted an image of the crowd, but of Wednesday’s (26 June) crowd for comparison. “From what I can make out, it’s far bigger than the turnout for SZA,” they said. “No disrespect to her, at all, but it does make you question the booking. Honestly, I think Madonna fell through and it all got bumped up.”

“I’ve never ever seen a crowd for a pyramid headliner looking so empty!” added someone else. Meanwhile, another viewer posted: “I’m sure she’s a fantastic artist but definitely not enough pull for the Headline Sunday slot,” hinting that Lavigne should have got the headline slot.

Fans of the ‘Kiss Me More’ singer have also jumped to her defence, calling out Glastonbury for the sound issues that plagued her set. Others have argued that SZA’s main audience is younger people who were there in force as well as watching from home.

In terms of the critical response to SZA’s set, Rolling Stone UK said it was “One of the riskiest bookings in the festival’s history is a smash for the diehards but does little to placate the nay-sayers.” The BBC said it “failed to set Glastonbury alight” but praised her vocals and performance abilities. Meanwhile, The Guardian gave her five stars describing SZA as “impressively eclectic and strikingly eccentric.”

SZA has herself responded to the conversations around her headlining Glastonbury. On X, she posted a few tweets post-performance including one reading: “The bravery required to be alive in public is remarkable. S/o everybody doing that shit.”