Glastonbury Festival organiser Emily Eavis has slammed criticism of the decision to choose rapper Jay-Z to headline this year's event.

The New Yorker's appointment has been linked with comparatively slow ticket sales for this year's festival while Oasis' Noel Gallagher this week said the prominence of the hip-hop star in the 2008 lineup was "wrong".

But writing in the Independent newspaper, Eavis - daughter of festival founder Michael - has hit back at disapproval of Jay-Z's Friday night headline slot.

"He has not only become one of the world's greatest hip-hop stars, he is also an artist who has an amazing live act," she said.

"In truth, we felt honoured to have him on board, and believe that he is absolutely the right act for our festival."

She denied reports that the decision to book Jay-Z was inspired by an attempt to capture a different audience for the festival and criticised "some strangely hysterical press reports" which seemed to imply that the Roc-A-Fella mogul was the first hip-hop act to play Glastonbury, despite prominent performances by Cypress Hill, De La Soul and The Roots.

"There is no reason why we should not have the greatest living hip-hop artist on at Glastonbury; in fact, he is exactly the sort of act we should have performing," she added.

Eavis also wrote of an "innate conservatism" among British criticism of a hip-hop artist's headlining of a UK music landmark, adding: "I'm not sure what to call it, at least not in public, but this is something that causes me some disquiet."

Gallagher, who headlined the festival with Oasis in 1995 and 2004, had said Glastonbury fans expected "guitar music"

But Andy Cowan, editor of Hip-Hop Connection magazine, has called Gallagher's comments "the typical reactionary views of a pampered has-been".

"Having had the grave misfortune of seeing Oasis play Glastonbury in 1995 - a lumpen, turgid mess of a set - Gallagher himself has set the bar very low, and I've No Doubt Jay-Z will be a huge success this year," he told the BBC.

15/04/2008 14:18:56