An out of this world festival of contemporary performing arts
Previewed by: Nicola Jayasundera
A one-of-a-kind music fiesta, Glastonbury Festival 2017 is set on a vast site offering mega-scale entertainment unlike any other in the world. Glastonbury offers five days of festivities on 2,000 acres of farmland around Pilton as it hosts a tented city in Somerset.
Music from all imaginable genres will fill your ears from over 100 stages along with performing arts like cabaret, theatre, circus, children’s entertainment, poetry, healing, green crafts and much more.
Open fairgrounds, artists, jugglers, acrobats, fire–eaters, entire nightclub districts built for the weekend, political debates, comedians, fields full of healers, tarot readers, masseurs, jewellery-makers, bread bakers and charity campaigners make for a seemingly never-ending list of activities and entertainment spaces.
It’s more than a mere five days of music with 2,000 performances and 100 venues! Like a convergence of miscellaneous festivals on the same picturesque English countryside for a weekend, Glastonbury is a major event in British culture. Inspired by the ethos of the hippie, counterculture and free festival movements, remnants of these traditions have been retained in the heart and soul of Glastonbury Festival.
Each area of the festival projects its own character, loyal fans and special attractions, as well as a whole load of stages. With some 85 venues, Pyramid Stage, Other Stage, John Peel Stage, West Holts, The Park, Silver Hayes, Acoustic Field, William’s Green, Theatre & Circus, Kidzfield, Field of Avalon, Left Field, Strummerville, The Bandstand, Glasto Latino and The Crow’s Nest are the main stages.
Ranging from the largest stage (Pyramid Stage, which can host anything from 10,000 to 100,000 festival revellers) to the smallest (The Bandstand), these daises come in various shapes and sizes, as well as attractions.
And where does all this go down?
In southwest England at Worthy Farm, between the small villages of Pilton and Pylle in Somerset, six miles east of Glastonbury. While the site is not expected to open till 8 a.m. on Wednesday, festival-goers can sleep in the car parks on the eve of the mega festival.
As for its roots, the Glastonbury Festivals were established with a summer school in the town of Glastonbury between 1914 and 1926 by classical composer Rutland Boughton following a series of concerts, lectures and recitals. The location comprised a bohemian audience at the time, and featured contemporary composers of that day and age (sponsored by the Clark family), as well as a range of traditional works from Everyman to James Shirley’s Cupid and Death.
Following the 1970s, the festival was organised almost annually and continued to grow in size. Held intermittently between 1970 and 1981 – and annually since then, except for ‘fallow years’ taken mostly at five-year intervals – they intended to offer the land, local population and organisers a much-needed break and rest.
So come June, Glastonbury 2017 is the place to be (if you have bought tickets in advance!) for a music and performing arts festival the likes of which you will not find anywhere else in the world!
Dates Wednesday 21 to Sunday 25 June
Venue Worthy Farm, Pilton, Shepton Mallet – in Somerset
Opening 8 a.m. on Wednesday 21 June
Tickets Sold out
LINE UP FOR 2017
- Radiohead (Friday)
- Foo Fighters (Saturday)
- Ed Sheeran (Sunday)
- Lady Gaga
- Kris Kristofferson
- Robbie Williams
- Diana Ross
- The Avalanches
- Green Day
- Bon Iver
- Phil Collins
- Little Mix
SIX INTERESTING FACTS
ABOUT THE FIRST GLASTONBURY
- It began the day after Jimi Hendrix died (19 September 1970)
- Michael Eavis launched the festival to clear his overdraft
- Headliners The Kinks pulled out and were replaced by Tyrannosaurus Rex
- Hardly anyone turned up!
- The few who turned up were high (well, that’s no shocker!)
- The festival dropped Eavis deeper into debt