Glastonbury Festival – The Garden of Earthly Delights

glastoOn any other time of the year, the Worthy Farm in the village of Pilton, UK is just another dairy farm  and probably the
only sound that you are most likely hear is the mooing of the cows. But for a few days almost every year since the early
70’s this piece of land becomes the Mecca of music lovers and hippies. Yes, this is Glastonbury and we are talking about
the Glastonbury Festival.

Glastonbury Festival or Glasto is the summer festival of music, it is one of the largest cultural festivals in the planet and has been held in Glastonbury for the last 40 years. This year’s edition got over two days back. The biggest attraction this time was supposed to be U2 and Bono is believed to have written a song exclusively for the festival. But an unfortunate accident forced U2 to back off, and they were replaced by Gorillaz. The other headlining acts were Stevie Wonder and Muse. The festival celebrated its 40 birthday this year and Stevie Wonder sang “Happy Birthday” to the festival on stage.

Glastonbury is much more than a showcase of music and festivities. Glastonbury was started as part of the free festival
movement of the 70’s. Even though the festival isn’t free any more, a lion’s share of the proceeds go to aid charities like
Oxfarm. It is interesting to note that such a huge enterprise of human gathering was started majorly by the efforts of a single man and that too in his private property. Micheal Eavis a sailor-turned-milkman owns the Worthy Farm and it was while sneaking into a Led Zeppelin concert with his then to-be-wife, that he got the idea of starting the Glasto Festival. During the earlier days going was tough and the festival was held on a shoe string budget. But slowly it began getting
bigger and bigger, the 2010 festival was reported to have costed 22 million pounds to produce.

Glastonbury is literally a swiss army knife of festivals. There are a lot of things happening there under the name of Glastonbury – there is music, films, dance, partying and even cabaret. It is your garden of earthly delights.The whole farm is divided into different areas and each area has it’s own attractions and performances.There are 4 music stages in Glastonbury. The Pyramid stage is the most important one staging the high profile performances. The stage is built from materials auctioned from a Ministry of Defence sale. The other stage is called “The Other Stage“. There is a stage named in honour of DJ John Peel and the fourth stage is called Acoustic Stage. There is an area called Block 9, a late night party zone where the party lasts all night long.The highest grounds of the farm, overlooking the rest of the festival, is occupied by the Green Field. This area is dedicated to the green movement and holds different sorts of activities to raise awareness about environment, community living etc.The other interesting feature of this festival is the Dance Village, which is basically a stage where disco, house and various other dance music guys perform. Then there is the Kidzfield, a mini recreation park for the kids within the Worthy Farm. There is lot more to Glasto than what I have captured here. It is amazing that so many people, most of them at different levels of inebriation, maintain some sort of order amidst all these revelry. It may be that the spirit of the festival takes you over and captivates you so much that you act like a collective soul perfectly in tandem with the rhythm of the festival. Yes, there have been incidents contradicting this but they are way too minor to be accounted.

While some of the prominent artists to perform at Glastonbory 2010 were Gorillaz, Muse, Shakira, Vampire Weekend and Stevie Wonder, you can check out the HUGE line up on the Glastonbury website. Fortunately this time there were no rains; Glastonbury is infamous for its mud and rain. The farm is a low lying area and heavy rain can turn it into rivers and pools. The sanitation of the festival is also a major challenge. All the filth and dirt generated by the thousands of festival goers has been handled in a responsible manner. Glastonbury also offers an amazing camping experience in the meadows of the Worthy Farm. It is a holistic entertainment experience where everything you do is fun. Glastonbury Festival is a definitive thing to do for a hippie tourist. It is closest to “the summer of love” experience we can get. This is the Mahakumbh of music and performing arts and I hope it goes on forever.

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