Undoubtedly the world’s most famous festival, this behemoth quite simply has it all. In fact, you could walk non-stop for the entire weekend and still struggle to see it all. When Glastonbury is on, it is the third largest town in the South West of England – even if the size (175,000) puts you off, we urge you to go along to this iconic event just to soak it all in. The sheer scale of it is absolutely mind blowing!
From humble beginnings in 1970, and inspired by an open air Led Zeppelin concert, Michael Eavis started the then Pilton Pop, Blues and Folk Festival, and all of the 1,500 strong crowd were given a free pint of milk from the farm with their ticket. Now, 46 years later, Eavis is still going strong (and still wearing his denim cut off shorts – rumour has it he has a seamstress who makes him a new pair each year), and his daughter Emily is heading operations on site as well.
As you can imagine with an event of these proportions, the musical range is utterly astounding. Glastonbury over the years has attracted the top names in the business – and been the starting point for many un-discovered gems. Visitors can be sure of seeing the crème de la crème performing on one or other of the many stages.
With so many different venues – over 26 – it can start to feel like multiple festivals rather than just one big party. Return guests find their favourite area and remain loyal to it – though if you’re not quite satisfied, just start walking and you’ll find something else to suit your tastes pretty swiftly. The iconic Pyramid Stage is the platform for the main headliners, whilst The Other Stage, which has almost as much history, is sometimes preferred by big names for its ‘endless horizons’ – as the Chemical Brothers explained, in 2011.
The Green Fields give you a bit of perspective on the buzzing intensity of the central areas – set back a bit, this area is for relaxation, discussions and lectures on sustainability and an overall ambience of calm and healing. Shangri La offers electronic music in an ephemeral setting, whilst the Acoustic Field – and its stage – host chilled, live music. There’s the Theatre and Circus area, Pilton Palais Cinema and Glasto Latino. We could go on but then we’d never stop.
Children form a special part of the audience at Glastonbury and have been included in the programme since the early days. Their own special Kidz Field, which is in its 21st year, has a simply unbelievable line-up. There are workshops, bouncy castles, walkabouts, rides – the works.
It goes without saying that fancy dress is wholly encouraged, and the ensembles you’ll see walking around will only add to this marvellous festival experience. Food-wise, the general theme of overabundance is continued. Hundreds of stalls and vendors throughout the festival site will keep your gastronomic wants well attended to, and for libation requirements – you can rest assured you’ll not be disappointed.