As crowds in their thousands gather round PCs and iPads for the Glastonbury ticket resale tonight (and on Sunday, more info here), sweating as if their lives depend on this one transaction, we decided to take a trip down memory lane, via YouTube. Since the first event in 1970, Glastonbury has assisted in making memories for millions of festival goers, whether from monumental music performances or just being on, arguably, the most magical farm on this planet. (Morrissey might disagree.) And if you take nothing else from this collection, know that if you’re unsuccessful this year, you can grab your laptop, sit in the back garden and sip on a cider to have exactly the same experience*.
*Completely untrue, nothing compares.
“It’s a nice place for it.” (1971)
“It’s a super place for it, it’s absolutely ideal. It’s a kind of euphoria down here, away from the awful realities of life… It’s a nice place for it.” Not our words (although it’s impossible to disagree) but those of a young Michael Eavis, that beard still very much present although a little darker, interviewed on a “super loo”. The footage is taken from the film, Glastonbury – a must see for anyone who sees the festival as much more than bands and beer.
Glastonbury Fayre (1972)
Glastonbury wasn’t the first film made about the festival, however. In 1971, the festival (now called Glastonbury Fayre) was filmed by Nicolas Roeg (Performance, The Man Who Fell To Earth) and later produced by David Puttnam (Chariots Of Fire, Bugsy Malone), to create a stunning, atmospheric look at the event. Despite performances from David Bowie and Arthur Brown, the organisers lost money, making it the last festival for seven years.
New Order (1981)
Just over a year after Ian Curtis’ death and the sudden end of Joy Division, New Order headline Glastonbury CND Festival (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament), as it became an annual event. Clearly getting into the spirit(s), Bernard takes a tumble towards the end of the track but continues playing on his back. What a pro.
“I don’t want to sound revolutionary…” (1984)
A short but sweet quip from Morrissey on hippies and their influence on the festival, no doubt questioning its part on the Smiths fans in attendance that year. Both Morrissey and Marr have since played Smiths songs during solo sets at Glastonbury, however following recent comments from the former it’s unlikely there’ll be an invite back anytime soon.
“What expands is all the theatre stuff and all that kind of gear…” (1990)
By 1990 Glastonbury was taking shape to become the small world it is today. Influenced by music and entertainment from around the world, of all shapes and sizes, this student made short film highlights the headliners, the circus and the luxury of laying beside your tent and watching the uniqueness of it all. Keith Allen is one of those interviewed, who mentions how much his kids love the festival (but are innocently intrigued by a “chill out mushroom tent”). Lilly Allen has since played the the Pyramid twice.
“If you want something to happen enough it actually will happen.” (1995)
Despite initially replacing The Stone Roses on the line up, Pulp’s headline performance provided a monumental moment for both themselves and the festival. With Britpop at its peak (they shared the top of the bill with Oasis and The Cure), Jarvis and co treated the crowd to a (surprisingly violin heavy) version of ‘Common People’. You could argue that a crowd haven’t moved this much for a headliner since this performance.
Should the Glastonbury blues become too much, this video (one in a series) documents the festival without a single musical performance, yet the atmosphere remains. The pathways, the sounds of the vehicles, the crowds, the stalls and of course, with this being one of the wettest festivals on record, the rain and the mud. Beautiful.
“This one’s for Shirl.” (2007)
Four fresh faced Arctic Monkeys headlined the 2007 festival, a far cry from the slick production that blasted out ‘Do I Wanna Know’ in 2013, yet still worthy of the slot. Despite the fact that at the time of the previous Glasto (2005, allowing for the regular fallow year) they’d just released their debut EP. In honour of Shirley Bassey playing the Sunday afternoon “legends” slot, the band delivered an impressive take on her iconic Bond theme.
Ask anyone who’s attended the festival in the last few years and they may talk more about what happens once the main stages have closed. Areas including Block9 and the Unfair Fairground play host to dystopian worlds a million miles away from chart topping acts, yet Arcadia is king – an explosion of sights and sounds from the belly of a mechanical beast, which has played host to legends Orbital and Fatboy Slim amongst others.