U2 pulls out of Glastonbury festival after Bono's spinal surgery

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Kaya Burgess, Times Online

Irish rock group U2 cancelled their headline slot at the Glastonbury festival today to allow lead singer Bono to recover from surgery to an injured spine.

Bono said in a statement today that he was "heartbroken" to be pulling out of the festival next month, which U2 were due to headline on the Friday night.

He said: "I'm heartbroken. We really wanted to be there to do something really special - we even wrote a song especially for the Festival."

Bono injured his back during rehearsals for U2's planned world tour, and was taken to a neurosurgery unit in Munich last week to undergo surgery on his spine. The singer, who suffered from temporary partial paralysis as a result of his injury, has been told he will need to take two months to recuperate.

The band have also had to postpone their 16-date tour of the US and Canada, booked for June and July, as well as cancel their appearance at the 40th anniversary festival at Glastonbury on June 25.

Michael Eavis, the festival's organiser and owner of the Worthy Farm site, said this morning: "It was obvious from our telephone conversation that U2 are hugely disappointed. Clearly, they were looking forward to playing the Pyramid Stage as much as we were looking forward to watching them.

"At this point, we have no comment to make about possible replacements for U2's Friday night slot. Instead, we would simply like to send Bono our very best wishes for a full and speedy recovery."

Michael Eavis will be especially disappointed after admitting in November that he had been trying to secure an appearance by U2 at Glastonbury "for years", adding: "I'm sure they will pull out all the stops to make next year's Glastonbury the most memorable ever."

The debate has already begun across social networking sites and the broader music world as to who should replace U2 as the headline act for the first main night of the festival.

London-born rapper and rising star Dizzee Rascal was due to play before U2 in the penultimate slot on the main Pyramid Stage on the Friday night and is many pundits' favourite to be bumped up to the headline slot, following a hugely popular set at Glastonbury last year.

The controversial but highly acclaimed appearance of Jay-Z at the festival in 2008 also allayed fears that Glastonbury fans would not welcome a rap star to headline a rock festival.

There have also been rumours circulating that Michael Eavis and his daughter Emily might approach Coldplay to step in to fill the vacant headline slot, although there was no confirmation from either camp that talks had been initiated.

Before the line-up was confirmed in the last few months, a number of high-profile rock bands were touted as possible headline acts, including the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin. However, it remains unclear whether a new act will be added to the line-up, or whether an act already on the bill will be asked to fill the vacant Friday night headline slot.

Among other popular suggestions among fans on Twitter have been to ask Damon Albarn's band Gorillaz or electronic dance duo The Chemical Brothers to play the slot.

Some Glastonbury fans, who are notoriously picky about the acts selected at the festival, seemed to celebrate U2's cancellation, with one fan on Twitter, Chris Bell, saying: "Ahh, U2 cancel Glasto appearance. And in some small way the world is a better place."

However, with hundreds of other acts across five days and dozens of stages, as well as Muse and Stevie Wonder due to headline the Saturday and Sunday slots, few fans seem to be as heartbroken as Bono.

Copyright 2010 Times Newspapers Ltd.

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This page contains a single entry by Jonathan published on May 25, 2010 10:50 PM.

U2 tour postponed until 2011 was the previous entry in this blog.

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