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Stones in BBC Glastonbury stand-off

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The Rolling Stones are trying to prevent the BBC from showing their Glastonbury set in full. Are they not aware that their fans, the hardcore 60 and 70-somethings, are the age group most likely to write outraged letters to the BBC complaining that they couldn't get their full fix of the wrinkly rockers playing all the classics like 'Satisfaction', 'Paint It Black' and the other ones whose titles escape us?

There will be disappointment among Stones fans if BBC coverage of the festival performance is limited to four songs from the Stones' set. Cynics might assume that the band did not want the whole nation to be made aware of just what a creaky bunch of preposterous has-beens they were, but more experienced cynics will know that it all comes down to money.

The band is planning to release a live DVD of their current 50th anniversary tour, so comprehensive TV and internet coverage of the complete Glastonbury performance might have represented something of a spoiler. Hence the Stones' demand for a blackout of the bulk of their set. This would be in stark contrast to the rest of the festival, which the BBC promises to cover in depth, with over 250 hours of live music online and on TV.

The Stones decision has caused dismay at the BBC who thought their deal with the festival had given them access to one of the music events of the year when the Stones announced they would be playing. Producer Mark Cooper is negotiating to show at least an hour of the set and is optimistic that a deal can be reached.

"Mick agreed to do Glastonbury for the fans who are there, he didn’t sign up for a TV show," a Stones source said. "It’s not about money. This show will go around the world. If there’s torrential rain it will play havoc with their performance and they want to sound and look at their best. There’s a lot of factors out of their control."

To paraphrase: It's probably about money and the Stones are only too aware that they are not going to sound or look their best. And they like to be in control.

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