It’s never funny when someone loses their rag. In fact it’s downright hilarious. There’s nothing more fun than seeing the fruits of a wind up result in a catastrophic meltdown and there’s nowhere better to see such an occurrence than on the stage of a major festival.
Here is our list of the seven most volcanic personal hissy fits of the modern festival scene, all carefully calculated to extract the maximum fun from the subjects of our study. So next time someone’s moaning at you about who gets to control the TV channel or your neighbours are knocking at your front door to get you to turn down the sounds, remember that the hairdryer treatment you’re receiving is nothing to the venom spat by these seven artists. All of whom should maybe grow up just that little bit…
7. Not so Richie Rich: Macaulay Culkin, Dot to Dot, 2014
Remember Macaulay Culkin? Well attendees of the 2014 Dot-to-Dot festival in Nottingham were possibly struggling to forget him after the questionable performance of his band The Pizza Underground. Although billed as a comedy act the crowd somewhat failed to see the funny side of a musical repertoire that was entirely based around pizza dough, tomato sauce and mozzarella. Tensions mounted and finally burst during the high point of Culkin’s kazoo solo when the stage was pelted with everything close to hand. Whilst not the stroppiest on the list, we do thing it was a little petulant of Culkin to even perform considering his band had already gone down like a cold margherita earlier that year at Manchester’s Zoo festival.
Strop Rating: Home Alone
6. Dappy gets Dippy: Dappy, Isle of Wight Festival, 2014
What do you call a dog with two dicks? N-Dubz. Obviously years of jokes and appearances on Never Mind the Buzzcocks had been grating for quite a while on little nu-warbler Dappy, famous frontman of the aforementioned unit. After sauntering up to the stage some fifteen minutes late to his own Big Top stage slot at the Isle of Wight festival in 2014 he only played 10 minutes before a sign emblazoned with the words “Dappy Fuck Off” caught his attention. As a response he asked the audience to all stare at this one enlightened individual before storming off the stage, probably to order more trainers online. Maybe he should have asked someone for a hanky…
Strop Rating: Best Behaviour
5. Being a Dick: Richard Ashcroft, Australia’s Splendour in the Grass, 2010
Remember how a slightly-heavier-than-air Richard Ashcroft pawed his way down an East London street in the video for the anthemic Bittersweet Symphony? The former Verve frontman dropped his seemingly single-minded ability to walk tall through all kinds of trouble when he played his first ever antipodean festival appearance at the Splendour in the Grass in 2010. No one quite knows why he threw his tambourine off the stage and stormed off without even completing one song, but we suspect that no one really cared that much either.
Strop Rating: The Drugs Don’t Work
4. An American Idiot: Billie Joe Armstrong, iHeartRadio, 2012
Go easy on Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day. He’s obviously having a little trouble adapting to the modern world of time-keeping as was shown at the iHeartRadio festival in the US. When his band’s set was curtailed by twenty minutes to make room for Usher, the aging rocker went on a tirade about a number of things including his provenance as a musical entity and the fact that he is apparently not Justin Bieber. Cue the inevitable stomp off stage previewed by a nod to the great Pete Townsend in the form of a smashed guitar. Well, imagine how you feel if you were squeezed out for Usher.
Strop Rating: Basket Case
3. Stuck in the Rain: Marilyn Manson, Australia’s Big Day Out, 1999
One of the older festival strops on our list, but still a classic, especially as it involves a man who usually likes to be on the other end of upsetting people, Marilyn Manson. The famous shock rocker more than smudged his immaculate make up when a shower of bottle descended on the stage at New Zealand’s Big Day Out in 1999. Frustrated and clearly unable to fully vent properly the singer went full toddler mode when he slashed a wading pool, flooding the entire backstage area. Unfortunately the wave of water wasn’t quite enough to wash away the highly annoying Courtney Love who was also billed with her band Hole.
Strop Rating: Irresponsible Hate Anthem
2. A Grimy Reception: Wiley, Cockrock, 2013
The UK Urban scene has never been known for its polite practices, but Lord of the Mic Wiley took things to a new level with his tantrumic behaviours across a number of festivals. After already putting on his parts on Glastonbury’s Twitter account his political tendencies were thrust into the spotlight when further tweets revealed objections to the Cockrock festival purely based on its name. The fast-fingered star’s even faster mouth couldn’t help him out of trouble when the crowd turned on him due to his objectionable social media updates. Fifteen minutes into his set and the hardened street poet skulked off to his trailer. Probably to play with his phone some more.
Strop Rating: Boy Better Know
1. Gotta Lotta Bottle: Liam Gallagher, Paleo Festival, 2000
Everyone’s favourite Mancunian Liam Gallagher pulled a move that many would argue is hardly out of character at the Swiss Paleo Festival in 2000. After upsetting the crowd by acting aggressively, the myriad masses demonstrated their slightly more elastic sense of humour by chanting the name of rival pop star Robbie Williams back at the Oasis frontman. A quick and fully frank exchange of views ended with a cascade of empty bottles and water balloons, moving Gallagher to leave the stage, apparently fearing for his life.
Strop Rating: Don’t Look Back in Anger
In many ways there’s nothing better than seeing a media-trained artist drop their carefully constructed persona and reveal the desperate infant within. We’re sure that if festivals could promise on stage strops from some of the world’s biggest names in the music industry then they’d be able to triple the demand for their tickets. Whilst many events already put comedy tents and areas on their line up, no stand up act could ever pull the true merriment caused by watching a genuine moment of petulance, when an enormous ego is popped by the sharpened pin of public ridicule.