What Is The Glastonbury Festival?

The crowd at Glastonbury Festival.
The crowd at Glastonbury Festival.

The Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts is not only considered to be the largest music festival taking place in a greenfield but also seen as the perfect example when it comes to festivals. It is one of the biggest festivals in Britain and was started by Michael Eavis on September 19, 1970, and has been giving some of the best performances to the people ever since for the past 47 years. This is because the Glastonbury music festival is known to host top names in the music industry together with upcoming performers. Apart from being the home to music performance, the festival also hosts other acts including comedy, circus, and dance among many others.

The Glastonbury Festival is considered to be one of the greatest shows on earth and takes place 1200-acre field called Worthy Farm, Pilton, Somerset, England. It is a five-day festival which is held annually on the last week of June and the last festival took place on June 21, 2017-June 25, 2017. During the 2017 edition, the Worthy Farm was graced by performances from Foo- Fighters, Radiohead, the amazingly talented Ed Sheeran, Katy Perry, and the legendary Kris Kristoffersen.

History Of The Festival

The Glastonbury Festival was originally named the Pilton Festival and dates back to the 1970s. The festival according to history was influenced greatly by the hippie culture of that time and also the free festivals held at that time. This is what motivated Michael Eavis to organize the first Glastonbury Festival but under the name Pilton Festival. Attended by 1,500 people, the main acts of that concert were The Kinks and Wayne Fontana. This is considered to be the first Glastonbury Festival (September 19, 1970) and one ticket was worth £1.

The next festival dubbed the Glastonbury Free Festival was held from June 22, 1971-June 24, 1971. The concert was free because all the expenses were paid for by the organizers and sponsors and a “massive” crowd of 12,000 people attended the event to be entertained by the late David Bowie and Mighty Baby among others. This was where the Pyramid Stage was first introduced (identical to the Giza Pyramid). An unplanned 1978 event took place which was not a success (500 attendees) but in 1979 the event came back bigger and better with the ticket prices rising to £5.

The event from 1970 was being held randomly but from 1981 the festival was held annually with each year being more successful than the other. The festival boasts one of the most famous stages (The Pyramid Stage) which has been maintained by the organizers from the original pyramid stage in 1971 to the pyramid stages in 2000 which is the largest at 30 meters tall. The festival makes the people appreciate nature and the environment and there is a Kidz Field where the children can also play and relax. There is also a myth and legend about Glastonbury that has probably made the event sell better that the area was where Christianity was born and it is also the same place where King Arthur was buried!

Acts And Ticket Prices

The festival is a definition how Eavis transformed quiet fields to be the hosts of the biggest shows on earth for the past 47 years. The setting is breathtaking and the people attending are what is said to make the festival standout. The acts have also been the best year after year since 1971 to 2015 where Kanye West performed. Other major acts include Coldplay, Paul McCartney, Adele, Beyonce, and U2 among many others. This has made the show successful over the years which can be testified by the ticket prices and attendance since 1981. From an attendance of 1,500 in 1970 the event came to host 135,000 people in 2016 and the ticket prices have risen from £1 to £238 in 2017. This number has been rising steadily since 1970! Gate jumpers have also been on the rise.

Charity Activities

The festival has been involved in charity movements since 1981 where it worked with the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. The money in cooperation with charity groups goes to those in need and also the conservation of the environment advocated by the festival where they ensure the field is left clean.

The Glastonbury Festival, however, is not held every year as the festival goes for a break after every five years or so. This period is called the “fallow year” where it allows the organizers and locals to rest together with the land to recover. 2018 is one those years and therefore the next event will be held from June 26, 2019, to June 30, 2019.


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