An Introduction to Glastonbury Festival


Glastonbury Festival is the largest greenfield music and performing arts festival in the world and a template for all the festivals that have come after it. And it is simply unlike anywhere else.

The Festival takes place in a beautiful location – 900 acres in the Vale of Avalon, an area steeped in symbolism, mythology and religious traditions dating back many hundreds of years. It’s where King Arthur may be buried, where Joseph of Arimathea is said to have walked, where ley lines converge. And the site is ENORMOUS – more than a mile and a half across, with a perimeter of about eight and a half miles.

It’s like going to another country; a thrilling and vibrant cultural melting-pot and inspirational Brigadoon that appears every year or so. Coming to Glastonbury involves a bit of travel, and probably a queue to get in but, when you get past these impediments, you enter a huge tented city, a mini-state under canvas. British law still applies, but the rules of society are a bit different, a little bit freer. Everyone is here to have a wild time in their own way.


Each area across the Festival site has its own unique character. There are the bustling main-act arenas of Pyramid and Other stages; the festival within a festival, up at The Park; the sylvan enchantment of The Wood and its vibrant Woodies stage; and the phenomenal builds of Shangri-La, The Common, Silver Hayes and Block 9. Glastonbury is an audio/visual Wonderland welcoming exploration.

There’re also family oriented areas like the Kidzfield and the Green Kids Field, and astounding discoveries to be made in the Theatre & Circus fields. And if you’re into the more alternative aspects of festival life, you can always head up to the Field of Avalon, the Tipi Field, and the Green Fields – home to the Sacred Space and its stone circle.


Then there are the people; thousands of them in all their astonishing and splendid diversity! There is only one common characteristic of a Glastonbury-goer – they understand that Glastonbury Festival offers them more opportunity than any other to have the best weekend of the year or even of a life-time, and they are determined to have it! You’ll meet all kinds of people, of all ages, backgrounds, nationalities, lifestyles, faiths, concepts of fashion (or lack of it) and musical taste. Some will undoubtedly wear silly hats or buy shirts that they’ll never wear again… until next year, that is. The overall vibe of the Festival is consistently mellow and friendly, even in the event of rain and all that comes with rain, a field and thousands upon thousands of tramping feet.

There will be moments when you ask yourself the inevitable: “Why can’t life always be like this?” There will be enlightenments, awakenings, surreal happenings and Damascene epiphanies. Sometimes the most wonderful things you’ll experience will have been booked well in advance – but often it will be something spontaneous, a moment converged in time and space. No two people’s Festival experience will be the same unless they’re tied together, in which case they’re probably part of a theatre company.


It’s best not to come to Glastonbury with a head full of preconceptions and a notebook full of plans of what you want to see. If there are one or two particular bands a day you really want to see, then let your day revolve around them and go with the flow. Hurrying between stages so you can tick off a list of things you feel you must see is not the best way to enjoy Glastonbury. If you can’t get a good vantage point, or aren’t enjoying a show, move on; there’ll be something else in the next field that might just change your way of seeing the world! Often, your best memories of the Festival will be of new things that have startled you with their brilliance.

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