Glasters is like the Proms with rock, drugs, dreads and a vat of mud. A great example of Brits at play. This year there is no Glastonbury festival, but Julien Temple's film aims to fill the void by documenting how the annual festival has become The Best Music Festival In The World.
The film, which has just been released, was cut from over 1000 hours of archive television footage, home video tape from those who answered Temple's call for material and footage that Temple shot at recent festivals.
Many attempts have been made to capture the demented, zonked out spirit of the festival. So far Temple's choice of a loose narrative, collage-like approach has been variously praised and criticised for either giving you a sense of being there or for not offering much of a narrative to bite into (even names of bands are not given).
So to help with your appreciation we're reproducing the useful date sheet in the film's production notes charting the history of the Glastonbury Festival. There's also a list of the Glastonbury acts that appear in the film at the end of the article.
The Glastonbury Festival - A Potted History
19th September 1970
The first Festival was held on the day after Jimi Hendrix died, over a two day period and before long "word had got around". It was the Blues festival at the Bath & West Showground that had inspired Michael Eavis to begin a festival of his own although on a smaller scale.
Acts included: Marc Bolan, Keith Christmas, Stackridge, Al Stewart. Attendance: 1,500. Price: Â£1 (including free milk from the farm!).
20th - 24th June 1971
The Festival moved to the time of the Summer Solstice and was known as the "Glastonbury Fayre". It was planned by Andrew Kerr and Arabella Churchill who felt all other festivals at the time were over commercialised. It was paid for by the few who supported the ideal so the entrance was free and took a medieval tradition of music, dance, poetry, theatre, lights and spontaneous entertainment. The first "pyramid" stage was constructed out of scaffolding and expanded metal covered with plastic sheeting, built on a site above the Glastonbury-Stonehenge ley line. The Festival was also captured "a la Woodstock " by a film crew that included Nick Roeg and David Puttnam. This film was called "Glastonbury Fayre".
Acts included: Hawkwind, Traffic, Melanie, David Bowie, Joan Baez and Fairport Convention. Attendance: estimated at 12,000. Price: free.
28th - 8th July 1978
This became known as the "impromptu" Festival. This happened with the arrival of travellers washed out from Stonehenge who were led to believe that a festival was taking place. After persuasive discussion, a free mini Festival did take place. There was little organisation and few facilities laid on - the stage was powered by an electric meter in a caravan with the cable running to the stage. Attendance: 500.
21st - 23rd June 1979
Now a three day event and still referred to as the Glastonbury Fayre. Bill Harkin and Arabella Churchill were the instigators and turned to Michael Eavis for financial backing. He secured a bank loan against the deeds of the farm. Special provision and entertainment was provided for children and it was at this event that the concept of the Children's World charity was born which still exists today and works in special schools throughout Somerset and Avon. Despite the numbers attending, the organisers suffered a huge financial loss and no one wanted to risk another festival in 1980.
Acts included: Peter Gabriel, Steve Hillage, Alex Harvey Band, Sky and the Footsbarn Theatre. Attendance: 12,000. Tickets: Â£5.
19th - 21st June 1981
The name was changed to Glastonbury Festival and Michael Eavis took the helm running the event. This was the first "Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament" festival. Michael helped positively towards the peace movement by holding the Festival at Worthy farm to benefit the Mid Somerset CND campaign. Michael had to convince National CND and said that with proper management the Festival could be turned into a profitable venture. Agreement was reached with National CND sending out information in their mailings, handling advance ticket sales and allowing the use of the CND logo. Michael provided the money, arranged entertainment and organised the event.
Acts included: New Order, Hawkwind, Taj Mahal, Aswad, Judy Tzuke. Attendance: 18,000. Tickets: Â£8.
18th - 20th June 1982
The highest rainfall for a single day in 45 years was recorded on the Friday
Acts included: Van Morrison, Aswad, Jackson Browne, Roy Harper, Richie Havens. Attendance: 25,000. Tickets: Â£8.
17th -19th June 1983
A licence had to be obtained for the event since the introduction of the local Government Act became law, giving local authorities the power to regulate such events by stipulating the conditions. Mendip District Council issued a Public Entertainment Licence which set a crowd limit of 30,000 and went into considerable detail about access roads, water supply, hygiene and so on. It was also the first year that the Festival had its own radio station, Radio Avalon. Â£45,000 was eventually raised for CND and local charities.
Acts included: Marillon, The Beat, UB40, Curtis Mayfield, King Sunny Ade. Attendance: 30,000. Tickets: Â£12. Programme price: 80 pence.
20th -22nd June 1984
In January 1984 Michael Eavis successfully defended 5 prosecutions bought against him by Mendip District Council alleging contravention of the previous years licence conditions. All five charges were dismissed after a day long hearing at Shepton Mallet Magistrates Court. The local council then announced that the licence for 1984 would cost Â£2,000.
The licence numbers were set at 35,000 and for the first time specific car parking areas were designated with stewards employed to direct the traffic. Messages were broadcast on the radio to advise people not to turn up unless they had purchased a ticket in advance. 1984 also saw the start of the Green Fields as a separate area within the Festival. Â£60,000 was raised for CND and other charities.
Acts included: The Waterboys, The Smiths, Elvis Costello, Joan Baez and Ian Drury. Guest speakers included Bruce Kent, the chairman of CND and Paddy Ashdown, Attendance: 35,000. Tickets: Â£13 Programme price: 80p.
21st - 23rd June 1985
By 1985 Worthy farm was considered too small to accommodate the Festival so the neighbouring Cockmill farm land was purchased to enlarge the site by a further 100 acres. The sheer size of the newly enlarged site meant that communications were stretched to the limit - the ultimate test for any organisation. With tractors the only possible means of towing people off the site in seriously bad weather. Michael Eavis was pleased that, "we have had the mud bath and proved we can still cope with the conditions". Â£100,000 was raised for CND and local charities.
Acts included: Echo & The Bunnymen, Aswad, Joe Cocker, Style Council and The Boomtown Rats. Attendance: 40,000.Tickets: Â£16. Programme: 90p.
20th - 22nd June 1986
Again, this was a bigger Festival than the preceding year's event. Due to the growth there were additions to the farm office, communications, welfare and medical teams. The Theatre and Childrens Areas moved to new homes, the first Classical music tent was introduced and the market areas relocated from the top of the site.
Acts included: The Cure, Madness, Simply Red, The Housemartins, The Waterboys, Pogues and Level 42. Attendance: 60,000. Tickets: Â£17. Programme: Â£1.
19th - 21st June 1987
The council's decision to refuse the licence was overturned in court only in May. 1987 saw the introduction of the Womad stage to the Festival.
Acts included: Elvis Costello, Robert Cray, New Order, Paul Brady, Michelle Shocked and Van Morrison. Attendance: 60,000. Tickets: Â£21.
The Festival did not take place as a decision was taken to have a fallow year to regroup and review the problems associated with the increase in size.
16th - 18th June 1989
Again there were once again complications with the local council over the granting of the Festival licence. The Police were bought into the organisation and planning of the Festival for the first time.
Acts included: The Wonder Stuff, Elvis Costello, Van Morrison, Pixies and Suzanne Vega who appeared despite a prior death threat. Attendance: 65,000. Tickets: Â£28. Programme price: Â£2.
22nd - 24th June 1990
The festival took the name of the Glastonbury Festival for Contemporary Performing Arts for the first time, to reflect the diversity of attractions within the Festival. It was the twentieth anniversary of the first Festival but unfortunately ended with a confrontation between the security teams and travellers who were looting the emptying festival site. This resulted in 235 arrests and Â£50,000 worth of damage to property and hired plant.
Acts included: The Cure, Happy Mondays, Sinead O'Connor and World Party. Attendance: 70,000. Tickets: Â£38. Programmes: Â£3.
There was no Festival due to the disturbances in the previous year.
26th - 28th June 1992
This was the first year that the donations from the profits of the Festival were made to Greenpeace and Oxfam. Michael Eavis felt that with the ending of the Cold War that people's concerns had shifted away from the possibility of nuclear war to the concerns of the environment. The Festival was also linked with National Music Day and the surprise guest was Tom Jones. Â£250,000 was donated to Greenpeace, Oxfam and other local charities.
Acts included: Carter USM, Shakespear's Sister, Primal Scream, P J Harvey, Sawdoctors and The Levellers. Attendance: 70,000. Tickets:Â£49
25th - 27th June 1993
The Festival continued to go from strength to strength as it began to get into its stride as a successful and increasingly popular event. The advance only tickets were sold out by mid June. This year's big performer and golden oldie was Rolf Harris. More than Â£250,000 was raised for Greenpeace, Oxfam and many local charities.
Acts included: The Orb, Lenny Kravitz, Velvet Underground, Galliano and Stereo Mcs. Attendance: 80,000. Tickets: Â£58. Programme: Â£4.
24th - 26th June 1994
On 13 June 1994 the famous Pyramid stage burnt down in the early hours of the morning but a replacement was provided by the local company who also provided the stages for the NME and Jazz stages. It was also the first appearance of the wind turbine beside the main stage providing 150kw of power for the main stage area. Channel 4 televised the event live over the weekend and it increased the appeal of the Festival to a wider audience.
On the Saturday night there was a shooting incident involving five people, no one was badly hurt, but there was the first death in the Festivals history when a young man was found dead from a drugs overdose. Â£150,000 was donated to Greenpeace, Â£50,000 to Oxfam and some Â£100,000 to local charities and good causes.
Acts included: Bjork, Manic St Preachers, Orbital, Van Morrison, Lemonheads, Elvis Costello, Galliano and The Levellers. Attendance: 80,000. Tickets: Â£59. Programme price: Â£5.
23rd - 25th June 1995
The 25th anniversary of the first Festival was celebrated and saw the return of the two performers from the first event - Keith Christmas and Al Stewart. Demand for the tickets had never been so intense and the event was completely sold out within four weeks of the ticket release date.
1995 also saw the introduction of a Dance Tent which was a major success and featured Massive Attack, System 7 and Eat Static. The Stone Roses were forced to pull out the week before the event to be replaced by Pulp but did appear at the Pilton Show in September instead. Channel 4 televised the event again, which was marred by the perimeter fence being taken down at the top of the site aggravating the problems of trespass for other land owners adjoining the site. The Greenpeace donation was raised to Â£200,000, Oxfam to Â£100,000 with local charities benefiting by another Â£100,000.
Acts included: The Cure, Oasis, Orbital, P J Harvey, Simple Minds and Portishead. Attendance: 80,000. Tickets: Â£65. Programme price: Â£5.
There was no festival. After the phenomenal success of the previous event it was decided to give the farm a rest. However, 1996 also saw the introduction of the Classical Extravaganza which took place at Glastonbury Abbey in August.
27th - 29th June 1997
Torrential rain just before the weekend resulted in this being the "Year of the Mud". Undeterred, festival-goers boogied in their boots to more live performances than ever before. This year's highlights included a "dubhenge" made from upended VW beetles and campervans and the first ever Greenpeace field with a reconstructed Rainbow Warrior and solar heated showers. The site expanded to 800 acres, a daily newspaper was published by Select and BBC2 broadcast live. Greenpeace, Oxfam, Water Aid and Mid-Somerset CND were the main beneficiaries.
Acts included: The Prodigy, Radiohead, Massive Attack, Ray Davies and Sting. Attendance: 90,000. Tickets: Â£75 including official programme.
26th - 28th June 1998
Rain again turned parts of the site into a brown quagmire, but resilient campers still enjoyed the evergreen mix of entertainment and all night fun. Over 1,000 different performances on 17 stages included a new marquee for up and coming bands. The enlarged Dance Tent was as packed as ever. Theatre highlights included the punk opera "Kiss my Axe". Mud surfing proved popular. There were better loos and a proper on-site bank. American singer Tony Bennett rose above the mud in immaculate white suit and tie. Over Â£500,000 from the Festival's income went to Greenpeace, Oxfam, water Aid and many local organisations.
Acts included Blur, Primal Scream, Robbie Williams, Tori Amos, Pulp, Bob dylan, Roni Size and the Chemical Brohers. Attendance 100,500. Tickets: Â£80 including programme.
25th - 27th June 1999
The sun finally shone on Glastonbury again, bringing a broad smile to the faces and performers alike. Â£150,000 was still spent on downpour precautions. The widest range of entertainment ever was on offer, with over 300 bands, a kaleidoscope of theatre, comedy and cultural adventures, and more than 250 food stalls - all publicised on a buzzing Glasto web site and broadcast on BBC2. Greenpeace, Water Aid and Oxfam again benefitted. This year's event was sadly overshadowed by the death of organiser Michael Eavis's wife Jean. A winged wicker sculpture was ceremonially burned in her honour, whilst fireworks erupted into a moonlit sky.
Acts included REM, Manic Street Preachers, Fatboy Slim, Hole, Blondie, Al Green, Skunk Anansie, Lonnie Donegan, Marianne Faithful and Courtney Pine. Attendance: 100,500. Tickets Â£83 including programme.
23rd - 25th June 2000
This year saw the return of the pyramid stage (the third pyramid stage) - 100 feet high and clad in dazzling silver. There was more camping space with the introduction of a special family campsite. A new outdoor dance venue among trees, christened the glade, was introduced and proved a great success. Once again Greenpeace, Oxfam and Water Aid were the major beneficiaries. This year saw a huge influx of gatecrashers - but even so the infrastructure stood up and people were treated to a weekend of diverse entertainment and fun.
Acts included Chemical Brothers, Moby, Travis, Morcheeba, Basement Jaxx and David Bowie. Licensed attendance 100,000. Tickets Â£87 including programme.
It was decided to take a year off to address the concerns over safety due to the large number of gatecrashers at the 2000 event. In March of this year the Festival was prosecuted for breach of the licenced attendance in 2000 and fined Â£5,000 as well as a further Â£1000 fine for a noise offence in one of the Festival car parks after the event. The year was spent carrying out a large amount of work to put measures in place to try and overcome the growing culture of illegal entry to the Festival as well as ensuring a secure and safe environment for the legitimate festival goers.
28th - 30th June 2002
The most long-awaited and carefully prepared Glastonbury Festival took place in wonderful weather. The ring of steel fence repelled all non ticket holders and 140,000 legitimate festival goers revelled in the space and security created by the widely praised new operational management structure. Tickets were put on sale in February and sold out in weeks. For many the place to be was Lost Vagueness in the Green Fields which bizarrely provided a silver service restaurant and ballroom dancing.
Acts included, Stereophonics, Coldplay, Manu Chao, Rolf Harris, Kosheen, Mis-teeq, Fat Boy Slim, Roger Walters and Rod Stewart, White Stripes, Orbital and Isaac Hayes. Tickets Â£97, including programme.
27th - 29th June 2003
Tickets sold out in under 24 hours making this year the fastest selling Glastonbury Festival. It was widely acclaimed as 'the best yet' - the weather was perfect, atmosphere chilled, Pilton was crime free and the line up brilliant. Over a million pounds was paid to local groups and charities. Greenpeace, Oxfam and WaterAid were the main beneficiaries and on site FairTrade led a high profile campaign.
Acts included: Love with Arthur Lee, Damien Rice, De la Soul, Flaming Lips, Jimmy Cliff, Moby, Radiohead, REM, The Damned, The Darkness, The Thrills; Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra and Nightmares on Wax in Lost Vagueness; Bill Bailey, Ross Noble. Attendance 150.000. Tickets Â£105, including programme
25th-27th June 2004
A massive over demand for tickets frustrated all concerned. However, the improved drainage and organisation triumphed to contribute to the safest ever Festival. 'Working together for a greener Glastonbury" paid off - with 32% of all waste recycle including 110 tons of organic waste composted. Streams and hedges remained unpolluted, she-pees were installed. Coffee and chocolate were FairTrade. On top of the Â£1 million paid to Greenpeace, Water Aid, Oxfam and local good causes, an additional Â£100, 000 was donated to the Sudan appeal. This was the year of The Tower - a massive 70 ft tall moving structure erected adjacent to Leftfield to celebrate working together. The Pyramid Stage had its normal eclectic range of performances, including The English National Opera playing to an audience of 15,000 and a larger crowd watching England play (estimate 65, 000) than actually attended the World Cup Stadium in person.
Acts included: Paul McCartney, Muse, Oasis, James Brown, Joss Stone, Toots and the Maytals, Franz Ferdinand, Scissor Sisters, Black Eyed Peas, Sister Sledge, Television, Michael Franti and Spearhead. Over 1200 acts in The Cabaret, Theatre and Circus.Attendance 150,000. Tickets Â£112.00 including programme.
24th-26th June 2005
Lightning strikes! Two months worth of rain in several hours. A once in a hundred year occurrence! For those unfortunate enough to get swamped, Welfare were there to give a helping hand. All in all, everyone pulled through - dinghy's n'all - and thoroughly enjoyed themselves whatever the weather. Sure enough the sun came out to greet us by Sunday turning it into the happiest festival yet.
The huge success of the Make Poverty History campaign was echoed at the Festival, with Michael Eavis making a very rare appearance on the Pyramid Stage with Bob Geldof. Greenpeace, Oxfam and WaterAid worked together declaring "...this year, let's make poverty history and clean energy our future..." A remarkable Â£1,350,000 was paid to charities and good causes.
Tickets sold out in under 3 hours and 50% of all waste was recycled!
The new, vibrant, colourful Dance Village replaced the Dance Tent with eight different venues, all playing different types of dance music - including the Silent Disco, The Midnight Cabaret and The Ghost Train in the Circus Field were new additions along with sculptures around the site.
The New Tent was re-launched as The John Peel Stage, in memory of the work the late, great supporter of the Festival did to promote emerging talent. The Unsigned Competition had over 35 entrants performing in various venues, including the Late 'n Live marquee in the markets.
Acts included: Basement Jaxx, White Stripes, Magic Numbers, Coldplay, Razorlight, New Order, Brian Wilson, James Blunt, Beautiful South, Babyshambles, The Killers, Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel, K.T Tunstall, Kaiser Chiefs, The Subways, Chas n Dave, , Elvis Costello & Royksopp.
Attendance 153,000. Tickets Â£125 including programme.
Artists that appear in Julien Temple's Glastonbury
Musical artists featured include: Velvet Underground 'All Tomorrow's Parties' (1993) Tinariwen 'Qualahila ar Tesninam' (2004), Quintessence Jam session only, hence no title (1970), Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds 'Red Right Hand' (1997), Terry Riley 'Dean' (1970), The Bravery 'Fearless' (2005), Morrissey 'First of the Gang To Die' (2004), Faithless 'We Come One' (2002), Melanie 'Please Buy One' (1971), Prodigy, 'Firestarter' (1997), Toots an the Maytals 'Pressure Drop' (2004), Primal Scream, 'Swastika Eyes' (2003), Richie Havens, 'Freedom' (1982), Alabama 3 'Mao Tse Tung Says' (2002 and 1998), Billy Bragg, 'Waiting for the Great leap Forward' (2002), Ernest Ranglin 'D'Accord Dakar' (1999), Black Uhuru 'Sponjie Reggae' (1982), Cypress Hill 'Rock Superstar' (2000), The Skatalites 'Phoenix City' (2003), The Scissor Sisters 'Laura' (2004), Radiohead 'Fake Plastic Trees', Babyshambles 'Kilimangiro' (2005), The Levellers 'The Riverflow' (1992), David Gray 'Babylon' (2000), Bjork 'Human Behaviour' (1994), Stereo MCs 'Connected' (1993), Coldplay 'Politik' (2005), Chemical Brothers 'Hey Boy Hey Girl' (2000 and 2002), Dr.John 'Right Place Wrong Time' (1998), Blur 'Day Upon Day' (1992), Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros 'Straight To Hell' (1999), English National Opera 'Die Valkyrie' (part of) 2004, Ray Davies 'Waterloo Sunset' (1998), Pulp 'Common People' (1995), David Bowie 'Heroes'.
For more on the film go here.