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A Brief History of Glastonbury Festival

A Brief History of Glastonbury Festival

Hello and welcome!

With the start of the festival season hot on the horizon, I thought I’d put together a series of articles (be sure to regularly check in), taking us on a ride through the history of Glastonbury Festival, a recap of the decades past which have created this juggernaut of an event, the headliner of the festival scene. Sit back, relax and allow me to be your tour guide through the history of Glastonbury.

It all started in the 70’s

Let’s jump straight in. It all started 50 years ago – 1970, to be exact. When a blues festival in Bath inspired Michael Eavis to create a smaller scale version of the occasion at Worthy Farm, a future phenomenon was born. A 2 day event titled ‘Pop Folk and Blues’ headlined by The Kinks took place in the month of September 1970, the day after the great Jimi Hendrix passed away. A festival – which 1,500 revellers paid £1 to enter – also provided them with free milk from the farm. The good ol’ days, hey!? 

The very next year in 1971, the Pyramid stage was introduced to the festival: a feature that is iconic to the festival to this day, albeit back in the day it was made out of scaffolding and plastic sheets, an HR nightmare some may say. A rare album was also recorded off the back of the 1971 festival, titled Glastonbury Fayre featuring artists such as David Bowie and Hawkwind.

The festival took an eight-year hiatus returning in 1979, following a £20,000 bank loan being taken out by Michael Eavis against the farm, as a three day affair and with an attendance that had grown tenfold to 12,000. The festival also moved to become family friendly, boasting special provisions to ensure that children were catered for and safe at the event, and the Children’s World charity was brought to life. Despite the huge increase in attendance, another huge financial loss was made, which threatened the very existence of what was then the Glastonbury Fayre. This year also held a special memory, as this was the year that a certain Emily Eavis was born.

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Now this is a short introduction to the grandest festival of them all, but as you can see, the morals that we associate with Glastonbury today were implemented at the very beginning. The festival only took place three times in the 70’s, its breakout decade. We all know very well though, that there was far more to come….

Join me next time as we venture into the 80’s and continue to discover the trial and tribulations that have molded the very foundations of the Glastonbury sensation.

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