Rolling Stones Drummer Doesn't Want to Play Festivals

Charlie Watts doesn't want to headline Glastonbury Festival, or any other outdoor event. So why is he being so grumpy about playing outside?

Ultimate Guitar

Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts says he doesn't want to headline Glastonbury, one of the biggest festivals in the world, when they headline the event this summer.

It's the first time they've played at the renown festival which plays host to the biggest artists ever, but in an interview with the Guardian he made it clear he's not as interested as his bandmates in taking part.

"I don't want to do it. Everyone else does. I don't like playing outdoors, and I certainly don't like festivals. I've always thought they're nothing to do with playing. Playing is what I'm doing at the weekend. That's how I was brought up," Watts said.

He continued, noting Glastonbury's tendency to attract hippies: "When you're a band ... you do anything and everything. But Glastonbury, it's old hat really. I never liked the hippy thing to start with. It's not what I'd like to do for a weekend, I can tell you."

Another reason Watts doesn't like playing outdoor shows is because of the weather. "The worst thing playing outdoors is when the wind blows, if you're a drummer, because the cymbals move," he said. "It really is hard to play then."

Proof that not everyone likes festivals, or proof that rock stars get grumpy in their old age? Let us know what you think in the comments.

26 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Floyd Phoenix
    To be fair, I saw the 'Gimme Shelter' documentary again yesterday, and 4 births, and 4 deaths (including a murder) at their free outside concert in December 1969 is enough to put anyone off playing outside...
    Not a big Stones fan, but respect Charlie. Seems like the only well-adjusted member of the group. Also the oldest I think - 70+ if I recall. No wonder he's getting a little cantankerous...
    Let's face it, he is getting quite old also. With as hot as it is on a stage, along with being outside (I'm assuming he means festivals from around the year) it may not be the safest idea for him to play outside. I'm not trying to be mean, its just simply the truth. Older people are more susceptible to heat strokes and loss in physical ability in the heat.
    Good point man. I mean it's always cool to see such as Rolling Stones or Aerosmith still going, but I forget how hard it's going to be for a drummer. Fair play to them for still being able to go at it
    "I don't like playing outside!" Said the drummer of one of the longest-running bands of all time who are also scheduled to play Hyde Park in July.
    To be fair, he is probably the most sensible member of the group. But I think he has a point about not playing outside. Being a drummer I can sympathise
    The Rolling Stones should have quit DECADES ago. Seeing crusty old Jagger trying to strut around sexy makes me want to puke. And the only reason Keith Richards isnt dead is all those chemicals have acted as preservatives.
    very true. I once heard a music store dude compare him to a cockroach. seems fitting.
    I'd rather that he says he isn't a fan of festivals than be one of those people asked in interviews do you like festivals and automatically say yes. At least he's honest and hopefully doing it for the fans and his bandmates rather than the cash, which lets face it I doubt he's bothered about anymore.
    Simply a very rich old fart that doesn't need to play at this point of his career. Put the bongos to rest Charlie.
    So why is UG so grumpy about him not wanting to perform outdoors because he's of old age and the heat outdoors could be potentially dangerous to his health?
    Maximus Rogue
    What a douche, not eveyone who attends an outdoor festival is a hippie. Statements like these are very dangerous, even for Rolling Stones. If he doesn't want to play there then why should we go watch the show? Just cancel the stones and make room for motivated bands.
    i can respect this guys perspective on the matter. he hasnt had the best luck in the world with outdoor festivals. this guy doesnt have anything left to prove to anyone. i respect the fact he sticks to his guns and beliefs about being a musician first not a clown or festival side show act
    After the Monterey tragedy I wouldn't either if I were a member of the Stones. I can also understand that he wants ideal conditions for getting the best sound; but it's obvious that he hasn't been "Hungry" as a rocker in about half a freakin' century. Young rockers would kill for a spot on that stage in front of that crowd!
    i can imagine him walking up to the mic and yelling 'get off my lawn you filthy buggers!'
    Hey ya know.... if you dont like it than quit the band. No ones forcing him to be with them and play outdoors. bands do that. correct me if im wrong...