Glastonbury Festival: A short History

Picture of a woman dancing at a campsite

June means it’s Glastonbury time!

Glastonbury Festival is one of the UK’s biggest festivals and it’s returning in June. If you love music, then chances are there is something here you’ll love! A huge line up includes Lewis Capaldi, Stormzy, The Killers, The Cure, Kylie, Janet Jackson and Billie Eilish for 2019. More than 2,500 acts will play on more than 100 stages! Wow.

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The Beginnings Of Glastonbury

Did you know that Glastonbury first started out in 1970? It’s grown in size and popularity, with the first festival attended by 1,500. Today 135,000 tickets have sold for the event! Founded by Michael Eavis, acts scheduled to appear included: Marc Bolan, Keith Christmas, Stackridge, Al Stewart, Quintessence Attendance. A Ticket cost a mere £1, including free milk from the farm. Compare that to today’s cost which starts at £248 each, which includes firewood and money going to causes such as Oxfam, Greenpeace and Wateraid.

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The Middle

Glastonbury Festival grew in popularity over the years and with it came security issues. In 1994 the festival’s well-known Pyramid stage burned down as well as there being a shooting incident. Additionally there was a death when a man was found dead from a drugs overdose. Gatecrashers would storm the event too.

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Access to the Glastonbury site is now very tight

In 2002, after a two year break, the next edition of Glastonbury took place. It brought with it changes including the ‘ring of steel fence’ to repel all non ticket holders. A new operational management structure was also in place. 

And, Thankfully, Not The End

There’s always more to Glastonbury than music, with festival organisers featuring Theatre and Circus areas. In 2008 there were performances from Cirque du Soleil’s Fulcrum and The Fire Tusk Pain Proof Circus among others. It also featured the Cabaret Tent, which showcased varying acts such as Mark Thomas, Adam And Joe and Spymonkey’s Monty Python-esque physical comedy.

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A massive team is now dedicated to manage the site’s recycling

Each year is highlighted by the weather – mud, flooding or searing heat and dust. It also portrays a positive message with its links to charity and environmental efforts. A while security is very tight, with event organisers controlling everything from access to re-sale of tickets, thankfully the issues of the mid-nineties continue to remain in the past.

Words by Emily B

Main Image: Photo by Krists Luhaers on Unsplash