Glastonbury may be one of Europe’s biggest outdoor festivals of music and culture. Set to begin on Wednesday 22nd June and run until Sunday, Glastonbury Festival normally takes place at Worthy Farm, in the South West of England. The festival hosts dance, comedy, theatre, circus, cabaret amongst other arts over five days. Over the years thousands of artists have graced the stages at Glastonbury, and the festival may attract world-famous performers and artists year after year. This includes performances from the likes of U2, Coldplay, The Who, Metallica, Kasabian and the Rolling Stones. The music festival may also attract tourists from afar to participate in what may be an iconic festival in the United Kingdom.
The music festival’s history stretches back to the 1970s, when other festivals began to pop up around the United Kingdom such as the Isle of Wight Festival. After seeing an open-air concert headlined by Led Zeppelin at the 1970 Bath Festival of Blues and Progressive Music, Michael Eavis decided to create a new festival event based in Pilton. This soon developed into what is now known as Glastonbury, and the festival quickly grew in popularity. The first Glastonbury drew 1,500 attendees and a diverse array of acts, and bands were paid in installments from Michael’s dairy farm milk sales. Nowadays, more than 150,000 people attend the festival annually and the entire event is volunteer-run with the intention on raising money for charities such as Oxfam, Greenpeace and WaterAid. As the festival promotes the conservation of the environment, Glastonbury has significant green requirements to meet each year. The festival is powered by Aggreko who provide over 27 megawatts of power to the site with 250 bio-diesel generators, run on 60,000 litres of waste vegetable oil fuel.
Glastonbury may be inspired by the ethos of the hippie, counterculture and free festival movements, as the festival retains vestiges of these traditions such as the Green Fields area. Each area of the festival has its own character with its own special attractions. According to the official Glastonbury website, 2016 is the International Year of Global Understanding, therefore the Green Fields area may provide the perfect area for promoting how the local impacts the global. The Green Fields area is a platform for art, debate and celebration, and includes more intimate stages, professional huggers, a stone circle and an underground venue. In 2015, the Dalai Lama visited the Green Fields area to help raise spiritual awareness.
Besides the festival, Glastonbury may attract visitors to the nearby attractions and sites of interest such as Glastonbury Abbey in Somerset, one of the traditional Benedictine Abbeys in England. In addition to this, Glastonbury Tor may be worth visiting, which may be seen from a great distance in the countryside. It is a labyrinth associated with mythical legends and is now cared for by the National Trust. For those who enjoy walking to explore, the Millennium Trail has been created to allow visitors to learn more about the town of Glastonbury and it’s history. The route includes visiting the Pump House, built in 1752 to cater for thousands of visitors who passed through the town. There are other buildings of architectural significance, such as St. Benedicts Church, originally dedicated to St. Benignus, an Irish Saint. In addition to this, St. Johns Church is an ancient building built before the 15th century. Legends surrounding St. Johns Church consider Joseph of Arimathea brought baby Jesus to Glastonbury, hence why Glastonbury may be considered by many to be the cradle of Christianity in the United Kingdom.
What other United Kingdom based music festivals may attract tourists annually?