Held at Michael Eavis’ Worthy Farm in Pilton, the renowned Glastonbury Festival has become steeped in a history that has developed as a quintessential element of the British summertime. Since it’s beginnings in 1970, the festival has become the place to be to showcase the very best in contemporary performing arts.
With less than a week until the start of the 2013 festival, we thought we’d give you a brief history of the event, followed by a look forward to some of the expected headlines this year…
The 1970 festival was originally set-up by Eavis after he attended the Blues festival at the Bath & West Showground, he became inspired to create a festival of his very own, even if it was on a much smaller scale at the time. The 1,500 festival goers were treated to performances from the likes of Marc Bolan, Keith Christmas, Stackridge, Al Stewart & Quintessence, and whilst the entrance fee was a whopping £1! attendees were given complimentary farm milk to make up for it. Co-incidentally the 1970 festival was held the very next day after the great Jimi Hendrix passed away.
The following year the attendance was free, and had gathered momentum with popularity, an estimated 12,000 people visited in 1971, and were the first to witness live music on the famous Pyramid stage.
After a period of fallow years, the ‘Glastonbury Fayre’ began again in 1978, catering for a bunch of 500 travellers. The mini festival had very little organisation, but the acts got by regardless, powered by an electric meter from a caravan.
It was 1979 that the festival really got going again, with Bill Harkin and Arabella Churchill acting as the instigators, they approached Eavis for financial backing in which he obliged by securing a bank loan against the deeds of the farm. Despite the estimated 12,000 attendees and the £5 entrance fee, the organisers suffered a huge financial loss and so a repeat in 1980 was most definitely off the cards.
Eavis eventually took control of the now renamed ‘Glastonbury Festival’ in 1981. The festival that year was to benefit the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, in which Eavis had convinced to help promote the event in exchange for a profit for the CND charity. The Pyramid stage was erected as a permanent fixture this year, cleverly doubling up as a cowshed and animal food store during the winter months. With tickets priced at £8 and an estimated 18,000 audience, Eavis eventually handed over £20,000 to a very grateful CND.
The festival provided CND with major donations for the next few years until the 1992 festival in which Eavis decided that the ending of the Cold War meant that people would be more concerned with environmental issues, thus meaning that donations from the ’92 festival were given to Oxfam and Greenpeace. Ticket prices had risen to £49 by this point, with the 70,000 attendees witnessing acts such as Carter USM, Shakespear’s Sister, Primal Scream, P J Harvey, Sawdoctors & The Levellers.
The 1994 festival became the first ‘Glasto’ to be televised – live on Channel 4, whilst the 25th Anniversary year of ’95 saw the introduction of the popular Dance Tent which showcased acts such as Massive Attack, System 7 & Eat Static.
2005 saw the wettest Glastonbury ever. Known for it’s infamous mud bath conditions, this year saw two months of rainfall hit the camp site in just several hours! The sun finally came out on the Sunday, much to everybody’s appreciation, whilst a whopping £1, 350, 000 was paid out to charities. The Dance Tent was replaced with the vibrant Dance Village which included eight venues, all catering for various dance music tastes.
This year’s event has followed a fallow year, so is even more highly anticipated than normal. If you’re lucky enough to have a Glasto’ 2013 ticket then check out our summer festival edits below for those last minute essentials – pretty much everything you’ll need other than your tent!
All this year’s action can be seen live and edited on the BBC’s coverage, but in the meantime check out our picks for a must-see at this year’s Glastonbury Festival…
For the full 2013 line-up then simply click here…