Why Glastonbury still rocks
Films have been made about it and artists who have headlined it have gone on to rule the music universe. From its humble hippie origins right through to the 200,000-plus strong town literally built on rock-n-roll we know today, Glastonbury has won the hearts of the hundreds of thousands of punters and artists who have had the pleasure of rockin’ out on a farm in Somerset in the UK.
For lucky 2016 ticket holders, the Glasto adventure is in full swing right now. If you’re considering heading to one of the last standing original greats next year, here are a few reasons why you should go for it…
It’s one of the last originals
Hot on the toes of Woodstock, the first-ever Glastonbury Festival started the day after Jimi Hendrix died in 1970 and since then has consistently delivered some of the world’s best and most memorable festival performances (read on for examples). Translation – Glasto was kicking it long before the Insta fashion and out-of-this-world line-ups of Coachella and the likes of its new wave festival comrades and, as one of the last greats, is still on top of its music fest game nearly 50 years on (yes, 170,000 tickets are known to sell out in under half an hour).
Music history is created here
David Bowie headlined in 1971 and returned in 2000 to play a legendary ‘Changes’ for the festival’s 30th anniversary. Radiohead knocked out what many call the ‘best Glastonbury performance ever’ off the back of their OK Computer release to a rain-drenched (they didn’t care) crowd in ’97. Orbital’s mind blowing ’94 performance convinced organisers to open a dedicated dance tent the following year (and paving the way for the like of Massive Attack and co). And Jay Z hummed a little Wonderwall at his well-received-yet-controversial headline performance in 2008 (after Oasis publicly denounced his appearance here for not being ‘guitar music’). What’s next?
More sweet festival goss right here:
Glasto boasts loads of other firsts too
Glasto always tries to stay ahead of the trends, be they the first festival female urinals (been there, done that with plenty of high fives amongst fellow female vertical Shepee-ers) or (we guess) first to offer free milk with the 1-pound entry fee (1970), aim a firework to deter an anti CND plane as part of their ‘Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament’ (1982), and put theatre and arts (and a left-wing political stage) on the billing. This year they are adding a female-only venue, The Sisterhood, to offer an “intersectional, queer, trans and disability-inclusive space” for everyone who identifies as female.
The show always goes on. Always.
Lovingly referred to as Mudfest, Glastonbury has overcome some pretty muddy times to deliver a killer festival. Memorable muddy festival years include 1997, which thankfully was also the year solar-heated showers were introduced; 1998, when Robbie Williams, Foo Fighters and Bob Dylan performed and mud surfing became a thing; and in 2005 where two months of rain came tumbling down in a few hours and was out-maneuvered by a new drainage system. Oh and that’s just the start of it. In 1994 the main stage, Pyramid Stage, literally burned down but this was nothing for organisers (whose first Pyramid Stage moonlighted as a cowshed BTW) who quickly built a makeshift replacement so the show (and the Manic Street Preachers) could go on.
You can’t always get what you want. But you will find what you need.
You could rock up to Glasto in your jocks with a key card and live here for yonks. Who knows, maybe you wouldn’t need the card, but the point it you can find pretty much everything you need to survive here (maybe sometimes not a shower) with shopping, food, camping sites, facilities, doctors, marriage celebrants, ballrooms and the rest scattered across the vast grounds. FYI you can BYO alcohol.
Glastonbury also always has and still knows how to raise awareness and funds for causes, including ‘let's make poverty history and get clean energy for our future”. They boast all sorts of initiatives including homes for discarded tents and even sending discarded Wellington Boots to migrant camps in Calais. Get on board and pass your stuff on.
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