This week, crowds of people are heading to a rather big farm in the British countryside. But they aren’t going to look at cows, chickens or pigs; instead they’re going to enjoy music, dance, comedy and more or less every art form you can think of. This is because for five days, Glastonbury holds the biggest music festival in Britain and one of the most famous in the world. You’ve probably heard of it, maybe you’ve even attended it, but how much do you know about Glasto?
The very first festival dates back to 1970 and it was founded by farmer Michael Eavis. In 1969 Eavis attended an open-air concert by the rock band Led Zeppelin n the nearby city of Bath. Inspired by the event, Eavis set up his own festival, then called Pilton Festival, later renamed Glastonbury Festival that we know today. Tickets were only £1 (compared to around £250 today) and just 1,500 people attended.
Nowadays, Glastonbury sells 135,000 tickets and is a festival like no other in the world. If you’ve been to a music festival before you know to expect bands, camping and one big party. But Glastonbury is so much more than just this. For a start, the perimeter of the site is 13.5km and everywhere there is something magical or mystical to entertain, satisfy or confuse the senses. You fancy creating your own magic wand or medieval jewellery? Glastonbury has it. You need some time to unwind* with some chai tea, yoga and poetry reading? Glastonbury has it. You’re feeling like a crazy party with a giant mechanical spider and pyrotechnics? You guessed it, Glastonbury has it too!
Glastonbury sounds like a lot of fun and we haven’t even mentioned the music yet! A lot of people associate music festivals with rock music, but in reality there is such a great range of genres, from jazz to hip hop, classical to rap, and everything in between. There has to be, because there are over 60 stages*. The most famous of these is the Pyramid Stage, which has a capacity of 90,000 people.
“Glastonbury sounds like a lot of fun and we haven’t even mentioned the music yet!”
Being one of the largest music festivals in the world, Glastonbury attracts the best artists to perform. This year will be particularly special as Radiohead will headline* on the Friday night. Twenty years ago, the experimental indie band from Oxford were in their infancy*, but gave one of the most memorable performances at the Pyramid Stage during one of the wettest Glastonbury festivals in history. Now they are back, artistically more mature but as exciting as ever.
Performing on the Saturday night will be something for the rock lovers, US band the Foo Fighters, who were supposed to headline in 2015, until lead singer Dave Grohl broke his leg just a week before the festival. Typically, the Sunday night offers something more mellow* and this year is no exception, with pop singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran entertaining the crowds with his music.
But aside from the headliners, there are so many little oddities* about the festival that make it so unique. For example, each year on Wednesday night, the first night of the event, festival founder Michael Eavis joins in* the fun and performs karaoke. Also planned for this year is a guest appearance by Jeremy Corbyn, whose name you may recognise as the leader of the UK Labour Party, who will be introducing one of the bands. We can’t forget the famous Glastonbury mud either. When it rains it often causes chaos with tents, possessions and sometimes people on air beds, floating down the muddy hills and people covered head to toe in in the brown sludge. It’s certainly a strange place, Glastonbury.
- To set up something: to begin an organisation or event
- To unwind: to relax and feel less stressed
- A stage: the place where a performance happens
- To headline: to be the main performer at an event
- To be in it’s infancy: the origin of something
- Mellow: relaxing, not as heavy
- Oddity: a strange or unusual thing.
- Join in: participate