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Relive Glastonbury Festival 2011!

Highlights in news, pictures & video from Glastonbury 2011

Young at heart: the Spirit of '71 Stage

Laura Foster goes back in time at Glastonbury

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Photographer:Peter Corkhill

United Kingdom United Kingdom | by Laura Foster | 26 June 2011

This year sees the 40th anniversary of the Glastonbury Fair, the event that really started to establish the Glastonbury’s name in British pop culture folklore and saw the building of the first Pyramid Stage. 

Stepping into the arena, our hopes of finding an abundance of naked hippies and free love are dashed by the claggy conditions underfoot; it’s more cagoules and collapsible chairs in 2011.

Despite this, a gentle air of peace and acceptance pervades the field, and we can almost smell the joss sticks wafting on the breeze.

BJ Cole and Emily Burridge are onstage treating the gathered throng to a wonderful classical repartee, Emily’s cello soothing away any jangled nerves left by some of the more hectic areas of the festival. This is truly an oasis of calm amongst the melee.

Boasting a stage with a diverse array of acts straight out of this colourful decade, including some of the bands who played the 1971 event, fans congregate on their chairs, setting up shop in front of the stage for the day in true 70s style.  

To top it all off, crinkly-eyed Andrew Kerr, the organiser of the 1971 Glastonbury Fair, is an ever-present force of mysticism and good will at the stage, infusing everyone who comes near with his gentle cheer.

“It’s been a wonderful weekend,” he said as we took in the action sitting outside his caravan. “The Crazy World of Arthur Brown was the most spectacular set.”

Today’s Glastonbury is a very different affair from the Fair that Andrew organised with Arabella Churchill all those years ago. Attendance was free, and volunteers built the Pyramid Stage out of scaffolding in the lead up to the event. “We were still building it as the festival started!” laughed Andrew. “There were no tickets or gates, it was just a big party. I was very surprised when so many people turned up.”

When asked about what he thinks of the festival today, the festival guru was measured in his response. “It’s very big, isn’t it? There’s something for everyone here, with all manner of artists and areas.”

So how close to 1971 does Andrew feel we’ve come with this vintage stage? “It’s impossible to discover the whole spirit of ’71, because things are generally very different to what they were back then,” he pondered, “but I think a little bit of the spirit has been palpable in this little area this weekend.”




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