Glastonbury Music Festival Can Survive Anything

Even Kanye

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Photo of “boothenge”, a reimagining of Stonehenge recreated with lost and discarded and very muddy wellies at Glastonbury. Photo by Flickr user neal whitehouse piper

“Next year, we’ll definitely make it to Glasto!” – This is a sentence that, at our house, gets uttered with a certain regularity. Every. Single. Year. Needless to say, we haven’t yet been able to make it to Glastonbury. Not on a road trip and definitely not for one of the biggest and, arguably, best music festivals of the world.

One reason for our absence is the fact that Glastonbury tickets go for sale almost a year before – and by sheer serendipity we have never not been broke in autumn. It’s a long term commitment! The other reason is that I’m not particularly convinced I am made for camping. Bugs! Spiders! No showers! Lots of people! I’m the type of person who will make an argument for glamping. But, #glasto, for you I’d give up all comforts! Why? Because the lineup is always bloody fantastic!

A panoramic view of the are of Glastonbury Music Festival, people milling around the campsites, taken in 2009 by Brian Marksphoto credit: Brian Marks

The festival has been around since the 1970s. Since 1981 it is run by Michael Eavis, an English dairy farmer. The festival literally takes place on his farm. Now, it’s that time of the year again! The time when I regret not having bought tickets and gotten over my fear of camping back in October. Glastonbury Music Festival is happening this very week, from 24th to 28th June! And, yes, it will be muddy!

4 days, 30 stages: If in doubt just wander…

With around 30 different stages in the area you can catch everything from pop stars to indie artists to crowd pleasers like Dolly Parton (one of my personal highlights in 2014). The most high-profile attractions can be found on the Pyramid Stage, but it is highly recommended by the organisers themselves to venture into the outskirts of the festival – off the beaten track, so to speak – to experience the special and the unexpected. Part of the festival’s motto is after all: “If in doubt just wander…”

Shot of a colourful signpost from Glastonbury showing the way to various stages and areas, taken by Flickr user sachabphoto credit: sachab

The sheer magnitude and the musical variety at Glastonbury are equally impressive. No other music festival can boast that they offer something for everybody. Want to rock out to Motörhead, Florence + The Machine, or Patti Smith on the Pyramid Stage? Enjoy The Chemical Brothers or Deadmau5 on the Other Stage? You could also go see Sharon van Etten on the Park Stage. Or are you more into La Roux, whom you will find on the John Peel Stage? That’s not a collection of names from past festivals, by the way. Those acts are all part of the 2015 lineup, which will culminate in this year’s main headliner: On Sunday night at 21:45 local time, The Who will be playing on the Pyramid Stage.

The Kanye Kontroversy

Glastonbury audiences can stomach pretty much anything – and if they can’t, they’ll just make their way to one of the other stages. The possibilities at Glastonbury are seemingly endless, and branching out of your musical comfort zone is highly encouraged. However, this year, one artist is apparently located too far outside some people’s comfort zones and has caused quite a stir. After it was announced that Kanye West would be headlining the Pyramid Stage on Saturday some of the more hardcore rock fans went a bit ballistic. A change.org petition demanding that Kanye be removed from the lineup even managed to get more than 100,000 signatures! The organisers received some death threats. But they didn’t back down and, in the spirit of the musical diversity at Glastonbury, Kanye will play. After all, Jay-Z caused a similar stir in 2008, and Glastonbury fans survived that too. And, as always, there will plenty of alternatives to Kanye West on Saturday night, e.g. Suede.

Live streaming Glastonbury in your living room

One of the most amazing things about Glastonbury is that the audience can choose from a pretty large pool; Even those that, like me, aren’t going to be camping out in a muddy British field. Not all acts are broadcast, but the BBC’s #glasto live stream generally offers quite a couple of options over the course of the festival, live streaming acts on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

So, without further ado, here’s your itinerary for #glasto in your living room:

First, make sure you don’t have to go to work from Friday to Sunday. Now, we are not endorsing any questionable behaviour, but do what you must. Unless you’re a freelancer, of course. Then you’ll just have to work things out with yourself.

Find out which performances will be live streamed on the BBC website. Make a plan. You’re probably not going to stick to it, but it’s good to know what you’re intending to catch. If you have a partner/room mate/family member with different tastes and only one screen – haggle. Drive a hard bargain. And then ease up and switch around between the acts, allowing yourself to discover something new.

Follow the Glastonbury chatter on social media by keeping an eye on the #glasto and #glasto2015 hashtags on Twitter and Facebook. Follow the official Glastonbury Twitter account and the BBC Glasto account. We suggest using a second screen to stay on top of it all while watching the live stream.

In my house, we usually also get our camping chairs out, make some sandwiches, and drink proper British cider or lemonade (I’m partial to Ben Shaws or the homemade stuff). But if you want to go a step further and make it a proper #glasto experience, follow this wonderful piece of advice from Twitter user Pandamoanimum:

Alright. I’m thinking if I say this on the internet, then someone will actually hold me to it and/or present me with free tickets next year – as well as assure me multiple times that camping isn’t all that bad. Because…

“Next year, we’ll definitely make it to Glasto!”

Photo, taken by Flickr user Robbie Shade, showing the giant “Glastonbury” letters in front of a stunning sunset.photo credit: Robbie Shade