Reports that Coachella refused to book Kate Bush because Americans wouldn’t “understand” her, have been denied by the musician’s team, who say the enigmatic star has not discussed performing at any festivals.
According to a piece in the New Yorker this week, Marc Geiger, head of music at the William Morris Endeavour agency, said Coachella founder Paul Tolletta had said no to the suggestion that the musician appear at the LA event.
“I’ll say, ‘Kate Bush!’ And [Coachella CEO Paul Tollett will] go, ‘No!,’ and we’ll talk through it. I’ll say, ‘She’s never played here, and she just did 30 shows in the UK for the first time since the late seventies. You gotta do it! Have to!’ ‘No! No one is going to understand it.’”
Following the New Yorker piece, it was widely reported that the festival had turned down the chance to book Kate Bush. However, in a statement, Bush’s representative told the Guardian that it was never her intention to play any more shows than she did in London.
Her spokesperson added: “The show was conceived for a very specific type of venue. No discussions were ever had with Kate about playing any festival, including Coachella.”
Bush’s first gigs for 35 years – her much praised Before the Dawn shows in 2014 – were wildly ambitious in their set design, something that would undoubtedly be difficult to recreate at a large open-air event with other artists on the bill. According to the Guardian’s five-star review of the show, it featured “dancers in lifejackets attacking the stage with axes and chainsaws; a giant machine that hovers above the auditorium, belching out dry ice and shining spotlights on the audience; giant paper aeroplanes; a surprisingly lengthy rumination on sausages, vast billowing sheets manipulated to represent waves”.
Bush had previously explained how her previous run of dates, Tour of Life, were so physically arduous she had no desire to repeat the experience. She credited her son Bertie with the impetus for her return to the stage, writing: “Without my son, Bertie, this would never have happened. Without his encouragement and enthusiasm, particularly in the early stages when I was very frightened to commit to pushing the ‘go’ button, I’m sure I would have backed out.”