Throughout history, festivals of all kinds have always been extremely fun and enjoyable experiences for attendees all around the world. From religious festivals, such as Diwali, to celebrations of Día de los muertos (Day of the Dead) in Mexico, they have become an integral part of society and so, they appeal to a whole host of different communities. This year, half a century on from the inauguration of one of the most famous music festivals in the UK, I decided to take a look back at all that had progressed during the 50 year life span of the Glastonbury Festival. 


While 2020 might not appear to be a particularly fitting year to discuss the success of the event, given its cancellation due to the COVID 19 outbreak, global events have perhaps come as a partial relief to residents of the local area, in Somerset. Apart from an 11 year period from 1970-1981, in which the festival ran every year, there has since been a ‘fallow year’ every five years to allow the town and surrounding communities to recover, the most recent of which being in 2018. Therefore, a slightly earlier interval, in relation to the previously planned 2023, will no doubt have benefits as well, even if it does not appear that way to the 200,000 visitors.


In comparison to the vast crowds that have turned up to Glastonbury in recent years, the very first festival saw far less than 5,000 people turn up at Worthy Farm (this had been the original aim for attendance). In fact, after the construction of the pyramid stage at the location in 1971, attendances steadily began to climb. An all time high was reached in 1994 when about 300,000 people turned up to the now huge event to watch the Levellers perform. 


Over the festival’s 50 year life span, some extremely famous people have performed there. Josh Freer said “It's brilliant to be able to turn up and listen to some stars with loads of other people”. He, among many others, has attended the festival on multiple occasions and experienced the “brilliant occasion” that it is.

In summary, known as arguably the biggest music festival in the UK, the Glastonbury festival has been home to a vast amount of tradition and culture in the last 50 years. Although it was unable to happen this year, the opening half-century of this famous festival has been extraordinary as it has grown into one of the largest celebrations in Britain.