It’s that time of year when a couple of hundred thousand music fans descend on a farm in Somerset, armed with their tents, wellies and as much cider as it’s possible for a human being to carry.
The marvellous Glastonbury Festival is upon us once more, and those lucky enough to have tickets can expect a line-up of musical legends mixed with new artists and some of the most surreal performers to ever appear in a field.
As a regular Glastonbury-goer, I’ve seen some truly amazing performances over the years. I’ve sung ‘Happy Birthday’ to the festival along with Stevie Wonder, and shed a tear as the sun finally appeared during Brian Wilson’s triumphant set in 2005. But instead of revelling in the acts I have seen at Glastonbury, I’d like to mention the ones that I haven’t.
Stevie Wonder at Glastonbury 2010
Amongst others, I have completely failed to see icons such as Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young and David Bowie.
The great John Peel once said, about missing the chance to see a particular band:
“Once a week I drive a nail through my foot to remind myself of the stupidity of not going to see them when I had the chance.”
I know exactly how he feels.
It’s a source of personal shame to admit that I’ve missed all these acts. Some were deliberately avoided, and others were missed due to factors including mud, bad timing and the Cider Bus. But I sincerely regret each one, because I’ve since come to realise how important they really are – and I’m not alone.
You understand why Dylan inspired a generation to pick up acoustic guitars and protest pretty much everything; why McCartney’s song writing made the Beatles the best-selling band of all time. Or why teenagers around the world copied Bowie’s make-up.
David Bowie at Glastonbury 2000
When Bob Dylan’s original hand-written lyrics sell at auction for thousands of pounds, I can appreciate why collectors seek them out like a scribbled holy grail. They’re not just items of music memorabilia, they’re important artefacts that have played a large part in shaping our modern culture.
But the beautiful thing about music is that there are always classic bands, artists and songs to discover. And as every new generation is introduced to icons such as Dylan or Bowie through new albums, re-releases and documentaries, their legacies continue to grow. As does the value of their autographs and memorabilia.
There will always be a market for these items, because their songs are timeless. Well, maybe not ‘The Laughing Gnome’ or Dylan’s recent terrifying Christmas album, but you get my point.
There are some songwriters who never go out of style, and long after they’re gone their music will remain.
People will always want to own a piece of their musical heroes, which is why investing in memorabilia from classic artists is such big business. Just this year John Lennon’s lyrics to ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds sold for $237,000, despite it once being covered by William Shatner. And the piano on which Paul McCartney composed ‘Yesterday’ sold for an impressive $240,000 in April.
Paul McCartney at Glastonbury 2004
Owning a true piece of musical history is something really special, and the chance doesn’t come along very often. But when important items appear on the market, dedicated collectors will break auction records to get their hands on them.
So if you’re a music fan looking to invest in something you love, keep your eyes on the market. Because if not you could miss some amazing opportunities.
I’m still kicking myself about missing Bowie.
Stevie Wonder photo from: BBC
David Bowie photo from: Telegraph
Paul McCartney photo from: Virgin Media