Glastonbury Festival Facts

15 Fascinating Glastonbury Festival Facts You Should Know

Glastonbury is the world’s largest outdoor music and performing arts event, attracting some of the world’s biggest and finest acts each year. It’s a five-day event in Pilton, Somerset, England, dedicated to contemporary performing arts. The Glastonbury Festival strives to promote and inspire global youth culture in all of its manifestations, including pop music, dance music, jazz, folk music, fringe theater, drama, mime, circus, cinema, poetry, and all forms of creative art and design, such as painting, sculpture, and textile art. Therefore, Glastonbury has a wide appeal and a high level of awareness for everyone, especially young adult music aficionados, will be talking about it.

Glastonbury Festival is arguably one of the two most famous music festivals in the world, along with and Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival but for very different reasons. Glastonbury Festival is a huge mash-up of mud, music, and warm beer that caters to every taste, no matter how weird, and nearly every activity imaginable. Moreover, there are a lot more facts about this famous music festival to reveal. In case you wish to attend Glastonbury Festival in the future, then a little bit more knowledge about this event will enrich your general insight.

1. It Used to Be The Worthy Farm Pop Festival

Since September 1970, Glastonbury has been hosted at Worthy Farm in Somerset, western England. Michael Eavis, the festival’s founder, owns the dairy farm. After being inspired by a recent open-air event, Michael Eavis planned to hold his own festival at Worthy Farm. It was the Blues festival at the Bath & West Showground that had inspired him to start his own festival although on a smaller scale.

Glastonbury has a “fallow” year every five or so years to allow the land to recuperate and the local organizers to rest. After a few years of smaller unexpected events taking place on the site, Michael Eavis reclaimed control of the festival in 1981. The name of the festival was changed to Glastonbury Festival this year, and a new Pyramid Stage was built, which became a permanent building on the farm. It also sheltered the Worthy Farm cow herd and served as a food store during the cold winter months.

2. Headliners The Kinks Pulled Out, Replaced By Tyrannosaurus Rex

After frontman Dave Grohl fractured his leg in 2015, Michael Eavis had to deal with Foo Fighters who canceled their concert and were replaced by Florence + The Machine. In fact, it didn’t happen for the first time. The similar case also happened at the first festival, when The Kinks along with Wayne Fontana, the other act featured on the flier, were both unable to attend. 

Therefore, Marc Bolan’s Tyrannosaurus Rex took their place. Keith Christmas and Al Stewart, as well as psych-rock bands Stackridge and Quintessence, were among the other performers. T-Rex did more than just fill in; they set a high bar for the festival’s future, making it one of the most memorable slots in festival history. Marc Bolan’s band were in their prime, playing to a crowd of only 1500 people, with ‘Ride A White Swan’ set to become a Number 1 single.

3. Glastonbury Festival Tickets Sell Out In 34 Minutes

Glastonbury tickets for the 50th anniversary sold out in 34 minutes, as a record number of fans attempted to acquire a ticket for the 2019 festival at Worthy Farm. The sale was completed in just over 30 minutes, despite the fact that a record number of people had registered to be eligible.

A record 2.4 million individuals registered for a chance to win a ticket. There had been 135,000 ticket sales, with coach packages selling out in just 27 minutes. The event’s ticket sales were the second quickest in its history, with only the 2014 festival selling out faster by a few minutes.

4. The Founder Has £1.3m Bank Overdraft

Michael Eavis, the organizer of the Glastonbury Festival, has a £1.3 million overdraft, but still contributes practically all of his revenues to charity in 2008. Despite his skepticism of his business ability, he made a wise decision when he took over the farm in the Somerset village of Pilton at the age of 19 with a £12,000 loan, making it a good investment in future. His Methodist preacher father, who farmed the 150-acre plot, died, and he had to borrow money to purchase the land. The festival was created to pay off these obligations, but it lost money for the first 11 years.

The first debt was never paid off, and it grew into a £1.3 million loan with NatWest bank. However, he has never been concerned because he owns a farm and a large festival. He puts together a £25 million event that draws 177,000 people who pay £145 to spend three days on a muddy field with portable toilets. It’s a long cry from the inaugural concert, in 1970, when he charged £1 per person and served free milk and Marc Bolan music to the 1,500 attendees.

5. The Festival is So Muddy

Glastonbury Festival is the world’s largest greenfield music and performing arts festival, and it served as a model for all subsequent festivals. The difference is that Glastonbury is held in a muddy environment, so you can’t escape getting dirty while having a good time. Because the entire underlying structure of the farm is made of clay and muds, there is nowhere for the water to go. A field’s soil has holes, which are where the water goes and where the air comes in. When it rains, the water fills the gaps, turning it into a disgusting mushy mess.

Even in the midst of a mudslide, there is a sense of hope. Those roots and grass haven’t vanished, helping reduce the amount of mud. Furthermore, the actual movement of people’s feet churning over the mud compacts it and eliminates some of the natural structure in the soil.

6. Queen Will Never Play at The Glastonbury Festival

Brian May, a 72-year-old guitarist and animal rights activist who co-founded Queen with the late Freddie Mercury and Roger Taylor in 1970, has dismissed rumors that his band has been hired to headline Glastonbury’s 50th anniversary concert in 2020. 

Brian May stated that they will never perform at that festival for a variety of reasons. One of them is that Michael Eavis has repeatedly insulted him, which he does not appreciate. What irritates him the most is Eavis’ support for the badger cull, which he considers a tragedy and a needless crime against wildlife. The tension continued when Michael Eavis called the band “not quite our thing”.

7. The Oldest and Youngest Artist to Perform at Glastonbury Festival

This year’s Glastonbury will be Paul McCartney’s belated birthday party. Because he turns 80 on June 18th, just days before the Glastonbury Festival in 2022. The former Beatle became the oldest artist to perform at the five-day music festival, taking the Pyramid Stage in Somerset, England.

Billie Eilish, on the other hand, will be the festival’s youngest ever solo headliner at the Glastonbury Festival. People are eagerly anticipating the festival’s return since it is everything they have been yearning for. For the first time in three years, Glastonbury will be held. It’s the most hyped-up event there has ever been.

8. Van Morrison Hit The Most Stage

Van Morrison (Source: www.independent.co.uk)

The Glastonbury Festival has the potential to make or shatter the artist’s future, with 200,000 people in attendance and a live stream to the entire country. Artists and bands who appear to have become household names have performed on the main stage, dubbed the Pyramid stage, on a regular basis. Van Morisson holds the record as the artist with the most stage ever. He has performed seven times at the festival: in 1982, 1987, 1989, 1992, 1993, 1997, and 2005. 

Van Morison’s career spans three decades, giving him plenty of chances to return to Glastonbury Festival time and time again. To put it another way, he’s a Glasto’ legend. Meanwhile, Raidohead was behind Van Morison, performing four times, in 2003, 2010, 2011, and 2017.

9. The Healing Fields

The Healing Field is the one section of Glastonbury that truly captures the cultural mood. The healing fields, which are dedicated to esoteric therapies, were opened in the mid-80s and are still going strong. The festival’s chill-out zone, the Healing Field, is open and fully operational at midday.

Moreover, you can unwind in the magical and artistic gardens, or take part in healing and connecting ceremonies. Yoga, Tai Chi, Dance, Singing, Meditation, and Massage are among the free classes available. Or, you can also meet a diverse group of people who follow a variety of spiritual paths. Whether it’s a session with therapists or simply relaxing and enjoying the tranquility of being in a healing environment, this area brings the charm of Glastonbury festival.

10. Archaos Great Performance in Music Festival

Glastonbury Festival (Source: www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk)

Every Glastonbury attendee will be transfixed by a daredevil circus act, and the French troupe Archaos set the standard for this type of bizarre performance in 1990. It was originally a part of six-month tour of Archaos in the UK that began with a headline slot at Glastonbury Festival. Moreover, Archaos became the first non-music act to get this honor. Their show began with Didier’s high-wire walk to the Pyramid Stage’s apex and ended with explosions and a pair of stunt automobiles plunging thirty meters to the ground. 

Archaos is the only company in Glastonbury history to have performed on the Pyramid Stage three nights in a row. While they weren’t allowed to perform some of their more bizarre items, such as chainsaws and motorcycles, they nonetheless dazzled with high-wire and trapeze from their base at the Pyramid’s pinnacle.

11. Behind The Glastonbury Stone Circle

The stone circle at Glastonbury is a megalithic structure situated in a valley between two low sandstone ridges at the site of Worthy Farm. The monument is located in Kings Meadow, which is located to the south of the Glastonbury Festival area. 

According to oral and written reports, the monument’s design is based on prehistoric henges such as Stonehenge, which dwarfs the Swan Circle in terms of both area and quantity of stones. There has been a connection between the Glastonbury festival, the solstice, and Stonehenge from the festival’s commencement in all of its phases.

The Glastonbury stone circle is a relatively new addition to the British landscape, but it attracts a large number of visitors in a short amount of time. The monument consists of roughly 20 stones ranging in height from over 2.5 meters to about 1.5 meters, as well as a balanced horizontal stone resting on a number of smaller stones. With a central band of stones, the stones create an oval with a maximum length of 25 meters and a minimum diameter of 20 meters

12. Rave Culture in Glastonbury

During the late 1980s, the genre “rave,” sometimes called as hardcore by early ravers, first surfaced at warehouse parties and other underground locations, as well as on UK pirate radio stations, as part of the UK “acid” movement. The Pilton party, though, was more of a bonfires-and-acoustic-guitar affair after hours until the late 1980s. All of that changed in 1989, when rave culture arrived at Worthy Farm, bringing with it impromptu events from groups like Sugarlump and Mindscapes.

By the early 1990s, raves had grown into massive gatherings attracting tens of thousands of people. Concerns about anti-social behavior and drug usage grew as they became more popular, prompting increased policing and new legislation. Meanwhile, Michael Eavis, the founder of Glastonbury Festival, who reputedly had no idea what dance music was, introduced the festival’s first official Dance Tent a few years later. 

13. The Story of Dance Tent in Glastonbury

Glastonbury 2015-Silver Hayes (Source: http://www.uneekibiza.com)

One of the most famous stages in Glastonbury is the Silver Hayes because of its Dance Tent. Silver Hayes’ history began in 1995 with just one tent, having a capacity of 1,500 people.  In fact, Malcolm Haynes created and programmed the Dance Tent during the new Jazz-world stage in 1989. The spectacular Massive Attack takeover was one of the most memorable moments in Glastonbury.

The Dance Tent increased in size and capacity over the next ten years, eventually becoming a massive tent that could hold 15,000-20,000 people. Hosting Daft Punk in 1997 was one of the most unforgettable and atmospheric experiences of my life. As a result, the Dance Village was established in 2004 after it was determined that the Dance Tent could no longer accommodate the many styles of dance music.

14. The Sacred Glastonbury

Hundreds of young people from all over the world, including hippies, poets, mystics, weirdos, and other nonclassifiable, have hitchhiked and tramped into the town in search of “vibrations” to the Glastonbury Festival. While most people were attracted to the free festival concepts, free spirit, and hippy dress were prevalent throughout the festival scene, the others fell in love with the sacred atmosphere.

They are drawn to this mystical location because of its rich history of spiritual pilgrimage, magical healing energies and holy locations, charming adoration of the sacred feminine, and the fact that it is the planet Earth’s Heart Chakra. As a result, Glastonbury Festival attracts thousands of visitors each year from all around the world.

Glastonbury has evolved into a melting pot of Christian and pagan beliefs. According to local legend, the Abbey formerly housed a church founded by Joseph of Arimathea, and pre-Christian paganism coexists with Christian and New Age ideas. The legend also said, the terraces in Glastonbury formed a maze that guided pilgrims up the sacred hill. The hill has a lengthy religious history, including indications of early Christian and pagan settlements. Today, you may see the incomplete ruins of a church if you hike to the top of it.

15. Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition

Glastonbury has stayed true to its long-standing tradition of presenting new bands and performers. Since 2004, Glastonbury’s Emerging Talent Competition, formerly known as the Unsigned Performer’s Competition, now offers new UK and Ireland-based bands of any musical genre the chance to win a slot at Glastonbury as well as a talent development money. Therefore, it was a huge opportunity for any up-and-coming artists. Brighton rockers The Subways were the first to win this tournament.

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