Glastonbury Festival

Glastonbury Festival
The Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts, commonly referred to as simply the Glastonbury Festival or Glastonbury, is one of the largest and most popular open air performing arts festivals in the world. It takes place at Worthy Farm located six miles east of Glastonbury, Somerset, England.

The forerunner of the modern-day Glastonbury festival was a series of cultural events held in Glastonbury every summer from 1914 and 1926. The so-called Glastonbury Festivals were established by English composer Rutland Boughton and featured works by then-contemporary composers. The events attracted mainly a bohemian audience.

The rebirth of the Glastonbury Festival was inspired by the hippie ethics and the free festival movement that started in the United Kingdom in the late 1960s with the Isle of Wight Festival. The first festival near Glastonbury was held on September 19, 1970 as the Pilton Pop, Blue & Folk Festival. It was organized by dairy farmer Michael Eavis at his farm in the village of Pilton. The line-up featured Al Stweart, Stackridge, Quintessence, and T.Rex as the headline act. The inaugural festival attracted 1,500 attendees.

Andrew Kerr and a group of like-minded individuals helped Eavis organize the second festival in 1971. The event was renamed the Glastonbury Fair and featured David Bowie, Skin Alley, Hawkwind, Fairport Convention, and others. After that the festival went on a hiatus for almost a decade and was revived in 1979. Eavies took control of the event in 1981 and made it an annual fixture. He ran Glastonbury with his second wife until her death in 1999, and is now assisted by his youngest daughter.

What started as a small counterculture event has grown to become a major performing arts festival. Nevertheless, the festival still retains its free spirit and informal atmosphere. In addition to contemporary music of different genres, the Glastonbury Festival encompasses dance, theater, comedy, circus, cabaret, and other performing arts. Past headliners at Glastonbury include popular musicians and bands such as Radiohead, Adele, Coldplay, Muse, Florence + The Machine, Kanye West, The Who, Metallica, Kasabian, Arctic Monkeys, Beyonce, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, Kings of Leon, and others.

Most people who stay at the festival camp in a tent in one of the camping areas. Each area has its own atmosphere. There are quiet campsites and lively campsites, family-only campsites and disabled campsites. Many festival goers wear Wellington boots because Glastonbury has a reputation for almost inevitable rain and mud. In 2015, discarded wellies were donated to a refugee camp in Calais, France.

In 2021, the event was held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Glastonbury Festival

Photo: Rinze Anne van der Sluis




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