Glastonbury - THE Festival

United Kingdom United Kingdom | by John Bownas | 26 June 2002

Glastonbury Festival may have spawned many immitators over the last three decades, but there shall only ever be one Glastonbury.

The Glastonbury Festival of Performing Arts (to give it its full title) has never actually taken place in Glastonbury itself. Worthy Farm's postal address is actually the small village of Pilton, but clearly Micheal Eavis realised at an early stage that somehow the marketing potential of the name 'Glastonbury' held far more value than that of 'Pilton'. Some might say 'what's in a name', but you only have to think of a place like Bognor to understand how the very sound of some place names immediately creates a seriously negative impression.

Fundamentally though, Glastonbury Festival is THE main event on the global festival calendar for a host of good reasons - and it's name is probably the least important of these.

Glastonbury represents a bygone era when festivals gave out free milk, and afghan coats were de rigeur.

Glastonbury conjours up images of classic performers playing on makeshift stages whilst fields full of hippy types contemplated imaginary clouds in otherwise clear blue summer skies.

We now have Glastonbury : The Play, as a distillation of some of the stereotypical behaviour that festivals generate amongst today's festival-going public. We have 'Pastonbury', the virtual festival...a flash animation set up by a famous brand of Cornish Pasties, that captures some of the comedy of Glastonbury Festival. We have a myriad of other festivals, both large and small, that try to capture some of the magic that Glastonbury the mother festival bestows upon her supplicants.

We will, however, only ever have one true Glastonbury Festival.

The festival itself sits upon ancient and mystical lands that claim Aurthurian roots. The rolling hills and hidden valleys and the way that the festival suddenly unfolds beneath you as you approach from the nearby towns give the whole place a sense of - well - PLACE!

Talk to any festival goer, and they will tell you that Glastonbury is the one. OK, so it has changed dramatically over the years. Alright, there is now a ring of steel in terms of security and there are a host of corporate sponsors, but none of this detracts from the spirit that always prevails across the fields of Avalon as over 100,000 people spena long weekend at the end of June making the pilgrimmage to Micheal Eavis' shrine to Glastonbury Festival - the celebration of music and the performing arts.


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