Jay-Z Quiets Critics With Indie Cred

The world's largest music festival is wrapping up in the rolling hills of Somerset, England. For three raucous days, revelers at Glastonbury can always depend on mud, music, madness and mayhem.

But this year, there was an added element: a major controversy over a star performer. Organizer Michael Eavis and his daughter Emily had booked hip-hop star Jay-Z to headline on Saturday night.

When the news broke a few months ago, critics went mad. Glastonbury is notoriously "indie" in spirit, they cried. The Brooklyn-born superstar "wouldn't fit in," they grumbled.

Noel Gallagher of Oasis fame was the first to express his distaste.

"Glastonbury is a guitar-based festival," he said, adding that Glastonbury is "no place" for hip-hop.

Here at the festival, feelings remain mixed.

"I just don't think he's right for this festival. This has a more dancing vibe, it's not the right sort of music," festival-goer Vanessa Nkosi complained to ABC News.

But her friend, who would only identify himself as Ashley T., didn't agree.

"I am so excited," he said. "Hip-hop is a main part of the music scene. Glastonbury has embraced American artists before, and this should be no different."

Iowan Alex Kleiner told ABC News that complaints are "way out of order."

"It goes against the grain," Kleiner said. "There are over 2,000 performances across 35 different stages. If people don't like it, they can go somewhere else and listen to different music."

This year's event did not draw quite the crowds that it has in the past, but festival organizers suggested that recent torrential rains kept visitors away, rather than the rapper.

More than 150,000 tickets were eventually sold, and sunshine prevailed, despite a soggy start.

And there was no question about the buzz over Jay-Z's appearance.

Taking the stage before the hip-hop star was Amy Winehouse. Despite suffering from a recently diagnosed lung disease, she looked well and sang her hits, drawing tens of thousands of people. Eavis said he'd never seen such a massive crowd at the Pyramid stage before.

Following her well-received performance at Nelson Mandela's birthday bash in London the previous evening, she again got top marks.

"She is fantastic. The best singer in the country," Briton Curtis Wilson said.

One downside to the festivities, however, was the lack of crowd control as the stage was set for Jay-Z. As thousands of fans surged away from the stage for a break, thousands more pushed through.

"I have been coming here for 13 years, and I have never ever seen anything like this," said Carole Burroughs, who was caught in the throng. "It's frightening, and I hope organizers can learn something from this."

All signs of criticism dissipated when Jay-Z took the stage. Taking a clever swipe at Gallagher, he opened with the Oasis hit "Wonderwall." Fans enjoyed Jay-Z's beat, and his overall performance got high marks with many in the crowd.

"Jay-Z was fantastic!" Australian Kirsty McCudden said. "He proved his critics wrong. I felt there was a major star on the stage."

After the performance, Eavis said he had no second thoughts about having invited Jay-Z.

"Absolutely not! No regrets," he said. "It was an absolute triumph." He added that the invitation was "a one-off, and it had to be done."

Other artists who appeared at the festival included Jimmy Cliff, Joan Armatrading, Duffy, Leonard Cohen and the Balkan Beat Box.

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