Eminem to rap up dance-focused Oxegen

Wed, Feb 24, 2010, 00:00

HAVING CRIED off his last Irish date citing “nervous exhaustion”, Eminem will headline Oxegen 2010.

The choice of Eminem and fellow rapper Jay-Z, along with hip-hop superstars Black Eyed Peas and a host of dance music acts marks a decided shift away from the guitar-driven indie bands which have been the mainstay headliners of Oxegen in the past.

Choosing Eminem to headline Oxegen is a leap of faith for MCD owner Denis Desmond, the promoter of the festival.

Desmond sued Eminem for his “no show” at Slane Castle in 2005 claiming that the rapper’s decision to cancel his proposed concert cost MCD €2.1 million.

All 80,000 tickets had been sold.

The case was settled on the steps of High Court for an undisclosed amount in 2007.

The singer blamed the cancellation of his European tour in 2005 on an addiction to sleeping pills.

He went into rehabilitation and took a long hiatus from the music industry, reappearing last year with a new album Relapse.

He said in a statement yesterday: “I’m excited to get back to Europe to rock some shows.

“The crowds there are always big, crazy and dedicated . . . It’s going to be great to feel that energy again.”

Ironically, the announcement of Eminem’s appearance at Oxegen coincided with the court case in which MCD is suing Prince for cancelling a show at Croke Park in June 2008.

MCD spokesman Justin Green said it was confident there would be no repeat of Eminem’s previous no show.

He pointed out Eminem had played two gigs at Punchestown in 2003 which went off without a hitch. “Everybody gets sick some time. Everybody has an off day,” he said.

The festival takes place from Thursday, July 8th, to Sunday, July 11th, at Punchestown Racecourse.

The presence of megastar rapper Jay-Z, the husband of Beyonce, on this year’s bill would have raised eyebrows a couple of years ago.

Headlining Glastonbury festival two years ago, the rapper emphatically answered critics – most notably Oasis’s Noel Gallagher – who said there was no place at a conventional music festival for a rapper.

He achieved this by giving a provocative rendition of Oasis’s Wonderwall.

Muse, who headlined the festival two years ago, will again be top billing on the Saturday night of the festival.

The Black Eyed Peas can justifiably claim to be one of the biggest bands in the world at present, with three singles which made it to number one in the United States last year.

One of the band’s songs, I Gotta Feeling,is now among the most downloaded tracks in iTunes history.

The Prodigy, Faithless, Goldfrapp and Calvin Harris will bring a strong dance element to Oxegen.

The harder edge of the spectrum will be catered for by Wolfmother and Rise Against.

Only one Irish act was announced yesterday. Northern Irish band Two Door Cinema Club are signed to French record label Kitsune Music and are due to release their debut album Tourist Historylater this month.

Other Irish acts will be announced at a later date.

Ticket prices for a three-day weekend pass start at €224.50 and have been frozen since 2008.

Tickets go on sale from Friday, March 12th.

Oxegen Line-up

Eminem, Muse, Jay-Z, Black Eyed Peas, Kasabian, The Prodigy, Florence and the Machine, Paolo Nutini, Faithless, Stereophonics, David Guetta, Vampire Weekend, Mumford Sons, John Mayer, Hot Chip, Calvin Harris, Newton Faulkner, Gossip, The Temper Trap, Empire of the Sun, Goldfrapp, La Roux, Wolfmother, Rise Against, The Coral, Broken Social Scene, Ellie Goulding, Two Door Cinema Club, Armand Van Helden, Steve Angello, Simian Mobile Disco, Erol Alkan, Steve Aoki, A-Trak, Aeroplane