Glastonbury Festival has always held a special place in my heart. Formally entitled “The Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts”, though dubbed simply “Glasto” by many, the festival is the world’s largest green-field music and performing arts festival in the world, and has been going since the 70′s. I first went to Glastonbury in 1998, when I was just a kid, and I remember being enthralled by the experience, with the festival leaving a lasting impression on me – as I am sure it does to anyone who experiences their first Glastonbury.
Myself at Glastonbury Festival 2005, overlooking the Pyramid Stage in the distance.
“It’s like going to another country, a hip and thrilling Brigadoon that appears every year or so”, states the Glastonbury Festival website under the tab “what is Glastonbury?”. This is a fairly accurate description of the festival for those that have not yet experienced Glastonbury. For you do not visit Glastonbury, instead, you experience it. Unlike many other festivals such as Reading/Leeds festival, Glastonbury’s charm is hinted at in its title: “The Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts”.
I cannot and will not attempt to list the countless unforgettable aspects and areas of Glastonbury Festival. Besides, this post is to give an overview of the timeline of Glastonbury, rather than an in-depth discussion of its aspects. However, it is important to note that it is not just another music festival. Glastonbury Festival is huge, and caters for everybody. As its website proclaims: “The Festival has distinct socio-geographic regions”, which range from Dance fields to Acoustic areas, from Jazzworld to Circus and Theatre fields, from the main Pyramid and Other stages to more chilled out areas. A huge part of the Glastonbury experience is simply exploring the enormous Festival, which stretches over a mile and a half across, with a perimeter of eight and a half miles. The Field of Avalon, the Tipi Field, the Green Field, the Field of Lost Vagueness (which I believe may have been re-named since I last visited) and the Stone Circle are just a few chilled out, interesting and perhaps spiritual areas that Glasto-goers can stumble across as they roam the vast landscape. And all throughout the festival itself are art pieces, sculptures, performers, surreal landscapes, impromptu theatre acts… and then there’s the music itself, which actually can often take a back-seat in the festival experience as there is simply so much to explore. Nevertheless Glastonbury always has a diverse line-up of acts from the unknown right up to the superstars. Acts such as The Cure, Massive Attack, Pulp, Blur, Hawkwind, The Smiths and David Bowie (to name but a few) have all performed at the legendary festival over the years.
Glastonbury has been going since the early seventies, and with tickets still selling out in record times, it looks as if the festival is showing no signs of slowing. With a brief introduction out of the way, here is the timeline itself: Continue reading