What do Adele, the Arctic Monkeys, Mumford & Sons, U2, Kanye West, The Who, and Lionel Richie all have in common? Each of these incredible, award-winning performers has made an appearance at what could be described as the best music festival in the world: Glastonbury.
Held annually in June, Glastonbury takes place on Worthy Farm in the southwest English countryside town of Somerset between two small farming villages. With over 10 main stages and close to 100 venues, it’s the largest greenfield festival in the world. Over the weekend there are countless poetry readings, comedy shows, circus acts, film screenings, debates, lectures, and experimental performances that take place in conjunction with the audio performances.
Glastonbury was born in 1970 at the very beginning of an era made famous by disco, hippies, and free love. Initially, it was called the Pilton Festival, named after the small village in the UK where it took place. It was renamed Glastonbury during year two. Since its inception, Glastonbury has managed to attract big-name acts like David Bowie and Traffic right from the get-go, despite being relatively unknown. It was clear even back then, that Glastonbury was special. Founded on the principles of love, freedom and equality, Glastonbury quickly became a safe haven for music lovers to practice creativity and inclusion.
Despite its growing popularity, Glastonbury was not an annual event until 1980. It was never held at the same time or location. The 80s ushered in a new era of explosive performances, over the top showmanship and a thirst for live music, and the festival was restructured into the four-day bender we know and love today.
What to Expect
With close to 50 events happening at any given time, there truly is something for everyone. Most people will tell you that the best way to experience Glastonbury is to go without a plan — simply wander the fairgrounds and explore. Over 130,000 people attended the event last year and with that many people in one place, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and torn in a million different directions. You could go every year for the rest of your life and still not see everything, but that’s exactly what people love about it.
The festival pulls in hundreds of millions of dollars annually, some of which is put toward helping the neighboring farms, but most of it goes into improving the festival each year. Glastonbury is on the cutting edge of live music and performance art, and many consider it mecca. Although not for the faint of heart, experiencing it should definitely be on your bucket list.
Given its sheer size and magnitude, Glastonbury can be molded into any type of experience you want. If you need a guys or girls weekend, there are plenty of relaxing stages with pubs nearby. If you want a rustic camping trip, it's easy to embrace your inner hippie on the farm. If you want a posh getaway, score VIP tickets and kick back at some of the coolest venues on the planet. If you want a family adventure, Glastonbury can be kid-friendly. For everyone who attends, though, it's the chance to go back to the time of peace and love and rock out.