Nadine Shah has elaborated on her decision not to play at Glastonbury due to financial reasons, writing “Sorry to break it to you but music is my job”.

The Mercury-nominated singer and songwriter announced the news that she would not be performing at the 2024 edition of the Worthy Farm festival earlier this week. Taking to her official X/Twitter account, she addressed rumours that she would be announced for this year’s edition, and confirmed that she turned down the offer due to a low fee.

“The rumours are untrue. I am NOT playing @glastonbury I would have liked to but I wasn’t offered a televised stage so I declined. It’s too expensive a hit for me to take otherwise,” she wrote.

She then shared a follow-up post, which read: “It’s just a reality that playing live is super expensive and if you can justify the costs (like being on telly and having a wider reach) then sometimes you take the hit. Otherwise no, we’ve all bills to pay.”


Glastonbury, despite being one of the most famous festivals in the world, is known for often not paying artists as much as other major events might due to organisers making large donations to charity each year.

That being said, the exposure it provides and knock-on effects of that are usually much larger. However, if the performance isn’t featured as part of the BBC’s television coverage, an artist is less likely to experience the benefits.


Now, Shah has honed in on the reasons behind her decision, and explained that it didn’t make sense for her to take on an untelevised slot that paid less than other gigs.

“To be clear. If I’m offered LESS money than what it costs me to play a show then I WONT play it. BUT if there is the bonus of it being televised I MAY take the hit for the exposure,” she wrote on X yesterday (June 6), responding to her original update.

“Sorry if you find this crude and sorry to break it to you but music is my JOB.”


She also shared another tweet, responding to a fan who supported her decision and highlighted how it seems unfair for some artists to not make any profit from their festival slots.

“Most festivals DO pay well though. I was offered literally a fifth of what I am offered for other shows this summer,” she responded.

Shah has been very vocal about the struggles that smaller artists face in the past, and has previously criticised streaming services for lining the pockets of “superstars and super record labels” while smaller acts are left to rely more on income from live shows.

For instance, in a piece she wrote for The Guardian back in December, the artist recalled how the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused a near-total shutdown of the live music industry worldwide, has left artists such as herself without a stable income.

“The pandemic obliterated festivals and gigs, meaning we were forced to survive on streaming income alone,” Shah wrote at the time. “As a cocky northern lass, I thought I’d be OK: ‘C’mon Nadine, you’ll be all right, you’ve been nominated for a bloody Mercury prize, you’ve over 100,000 monthly Spotify listeners. You’ll make the rent.’”

She continued: “I was foolish. The situation was such that I temporarily had to move back in with my parents over the summer. Not the worst thing to happen, but still not a great look for a thirtysomething pop star. Like most of my musician friends who rely on gigs, I found myself in dire straits. (If only I actually were in Dire Straits.)”

Now, following her latest comments on social media, fans, other artists and industry professionals have come forward and shared their support for Shah’s decision to not play at Glasto.

“Well said Nadine. Too often we are expected to take a hit because of ‘opportunity’,” wrote Catherine Anne Davies aka The Anchoress in a reply tweet. “Losing money on shows isn’t an option when you have financial responsibilities. It’s baffling that people think it should be any different than any other profession.”

Similarly, former BBC 6 Music DJ turned podcast host Shaun Keaveny weighed in, writing: “That makes complete sense. It’s sad that the hegemony of thought is still that artists can afford to give their time for no money.”

Sister Bliss of Faithless – who is performing at this year’s edition of Glastonbury – also showed support for Shah, and expressed how she hoped there could be a change in policy that would help support the artists.

“It’s time they change their booking policy and stop pretending to be a charity. And I say that as playing the best shows of my little life there,” she wrote. “The fact booking a headliner this year was a nightmare for them speaks volumes.”

The comments shared by Shah about the strain felt by newer artists come in light of a recent report from NME. Shared at the beginning of the year, various artists spoke to NME to reveal the biggest challenges they faced in 2023 and the things they would like to see changed going forward.

Echoing the FAC’s advocacy for venues not taking a cut of musicians’ merchandise sales at gigs, Murray Matravers (the frontman for the band formerly known as Easy Life) called for more action to be taken as “touring just isn’t financially sustainable at all.”

It also comes following Spotify facing criticism for making it harder for new talent to make any income off their music. As well as many commenting on its model of paying artists, the company also announced a streaming threshold of 1,000 plays before songs are able to generate royalties.

Similarly, the CEO of the streaming giant Daniel Ek also faced backlash after labelling music as “content” and suggesting that it costs “close to zero” to make new material.

The legendary Worthy Farm festival will be taking place between June 26 and 30 this year, and will see headline sets from Dua Lipa, Coldplay and SZA, as well as Shania Twain, LCD Soundsystem, Little Simz, The National and others.

Earlier this week, the organisers revealed the full line-up, stage times and day splits for this year’s festival, which you can find here.