That’s right ladies and gents – I am off to deepest darkest Glastonbury to drink cider and roll around in mud for a few days. Glastonbury is without doubt one of the best music festivals in the world (putting aside my gripes about this year’s “headliners”).
Yet, there is no real rest for this particular political blogger. Glastonbury is also unique for the amount of awareness raising it does for a number of causes that are close to my heart including, Oxfam, Wateraid and Greenpeace.
This year however, the festival is going one better. There is a grass roots movement happening organised by Art Uncut which aims to highlight the tax dodging of Bono and U2 (who are headlining the festival…As I said, no comment on the choice of headliners). Art uncut explains Bono’s situation as follows:
Before 2006 U2 Ltd, which deals with U2’s royalties payments, was registered in Ireland, the band’s native country, for tax purposes. At the time, Ireland had an astonishing policy of allowing artists to pay zero tax on royalties. In 2006, quite sensibly one might think, the Irish government decided to cap the income which can be subject to this exemption at 250,000 Euros per annum. Following this change in the law, U2 Ltd decided to move their tax affairs to Holland in order to pay less tax.
As such, they are dedicating a whole weekend of protesting to this situation including a high-profile protest at the gig itself. I look forward to seeing what will unfold. They insist that this is not just “having a dig” at Bono (which is a shame because I think that’s a pretty good reason in itself) but to raise awareness of the ethics of taxation. Christian Aid estimates that poor countries receive $160 billion less because of tax dodging. The Art Uncut movement make a full explanation of the problem here.
Glastonbury will defiantly provide incredible entertainment, from the mighty Gas Light Anthem, to the beautiful Laura Marling to the not so beautiful (but still lovely) Mark Thomas. It will also however, put ideas and causes to the forefront of people’s minds.
Whether or not people remember them after a few glasses of West Country cider though remains to be seen.