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Headlinesn > Entertainment > ‘Huge step forward’ as South Asians take over Glastonbury
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‘Huge step forward’ as South Asians take over Glastonbury

The issue of diversity at festivals has come up before.

In 2022, Sir Lenny Henry said he was “surprised by the lack of black and brown faces” at festivals.

“I think, ‘Wow, that’s still very much a dominant culture thing’,” he said.

Last year, Glastonbury’s predominantly white, male headliners also sparked criticism.

But festivals have been keen to attract new attendees, and also to reflect the fact many of us are listening to a much wider range of music these days.

Glastonbury’s new South Asian space is part of a diverse line-up that also includes Afrobeats stars Burna Boy, Ayra Starr and Tems, K-Pop band Seventeen and Korean DJ Peggy Gou.

There have been smaller South Asian takeovers of individual stages at Glastonbury in the past.

But this is the first time South Asian artists have had their own dedicated area for the entirety of the festival.

In many ways, it is reminiscent of the grime takeover on the Sonic Stage in 2016 – which led directly to Stormzy’s headline set three years later.

Gracie T, who is playing at Arrivals on Friday night, told BBC News it was “incredibly special and important” for artists like them to be given this platform.

The 25-year-old, from Sheffield, is a secondary school teacher by day and a DJ by night.

They said the aim of the new space was to showcase South Asian creators, not pigeonhole them.

“Often, when South Asian DJs are booked, they’re expected to play purely Asian music. When it comes to electronic music, they are often overlooked,” they said.

“What I love about Arrivals is everyone’s music taste is celebrated. For me, it’s about playing a fusion – embracing my South Asian roots and pairing that with the reality of growing up in Britain.”

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