A look back on the largest greenfield music festival in the world
Glastonbury Festival turns 47 years old today. To mark the occasion, we thought we’d take you on a trip down memory lane, with a look back at every Glastonbury poster since it started in 1970.
Tickets to the first ever festival could be nabbed for just £1. This got you into the festival, where iconic band The Kinks would be performing, and also got you free milk from the farm. (What a bargain!)
Whilst you can’t find a poster to the 1971 edition of the festival, you may know that David Bowie was amongst the stars performing that year. This was also the year that the Pyramid Stage made its first appearance at the festival.
Unfortunately there seems to be no poster for 1978 either, as it wasn’t actually meant to take place. After many travellers arrived believing the festival to be taking place, a free mini festival was put on with the stage powered by an electricity meter in a caravan.
The theme for this year’s festival, named Glastonbury Fayre, was ‘the year of the child’. With acts such as Peter Gabriel and Alex Harvey Band, as well as special children’s entertainment, the event was attended by 12,000. Despite the big turnout the organisers suffered a huge financial loss and therefore decided there wouldn’t be an event the following year. This was also the year Emily Eavis was born.
After it’s one year break, the festival returned with a permanent Pyramid Stage (which doubles as an animal shed and food store during winter). New Order and Hawkwind were amongst the acts playing to around 18,000 attendees.
Top of the bill in ’82 included Van Morrison, and whilst U2 were featured on the line-up poster, they didn’t actually play.
1983 saw the first ever use of the festivals own radio station, Radio Avalon. The attendance this year reached 30,000 and saw the likes of UB40 and Marillon perform.
The continuous growth of the festival saw the need for designated festival parking and announcements telling people not to turn up unless they had gotten a ticket in advance. The acts got bigger too as this years festival hosted The Smiths, Elvis Costello and Ian Dury.
Worthy Farm was considered too small to host the festival on its own, so the farm’s neighbour Cockmill Farm was bought to help accommodate the 40,000 people who attended in 1985. Echo and the Bunnymen and The Boomtown Rats both made it onto the bill.
The Cure, Madness, Simply Red and The Pogues appeared on the ever growing line-up for the 1986 festival. Looks like it was an impressive year.
With attendance numbers increasing by the year, along with the ticket prices, the festival welcomed back previous performers New Order, Elvis Costello and Van Morrison.
Elvis Costello and Van Morrison were back again for the 1989 run of the festival. They were joined by Pixies and Suzanne Vega who, despite receiving a death threat prior to the festival, still performed (go on girl).
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first festival, Happy Mondays and Sinead O’Conner both made appearances. Sadly, the event ended on a sour note as a confrontation between security and looting travellers resulted in 235 arrests, and £50,000 worth of damage.
After another year break, the 1992 line-up was star studded featuring Lou Reed, Morrissey, Primal Scream and Blur. There was also a big surprise performance from Tom Jones this year.
If you were lucky enough to nab a ticket for the 1993 event, you may have had the pleasure of seeing Robert Plant, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Suede and The Velvet Underground. Tickets for the weekend were on sale at an unbelievable price of £58.
1994 was a landmark year for Glastonbury with the first use of wind turbines, which provided power for the site, and Channel 4 providing the first televised coverage of the event. This was also the year Oasis made their debut appearance at the festival. Whilst many good things happened this year, so did many bad. Just weeks before the event, the Pyramid Stage burnt down and a replacement had to be provided. The Manic Street Preachers’ setlist would go down in history – not least for Nicky Wire calling for ‘a bypass to be built over this shithole’
The 25th anniversary of the first festival saw return performances from Keith Christmas and Al Stewart, who both performed at the first ever Glastonbury in 1970. The Stone Roses were meant to appear but were forced to pull out the week before and were replaced by Pulp. The 1995 event also saw the introduction of a dance tent.
A daily newspaper and live broadcast from BBC 2 were this year’s addition to the festival. Huge names were on the bill this year including The Prodigy, Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead, Chemical Brothers and Stereophonics, to name a few.
Capacity reached over 100,000 in 1998 with performances from Blur, Robbie Williams and Bob Dylan. The event featured over 1,000 performances, 17 stages and the introduction of a new marquee for up and coming bands.
With the sad news of the death of Michael Eavis’ wife Jean, a wicker sculpture was burned in her honour and fireworks were set off. This years performers included REM, Manic Street Preachers, Fat Boy Slim and Blondie.
In an eventful year which saw us enter into a new millennium, Glastonbury continued to pull out all the stops with performances from David Bowie, Pet Shop Boys, Nine Inch Nails, future headliners Coldplay, and who could forget Bloodhound Gang.
The return of the festival was long anticipated following another year break. The security was upped and a ring of steel fence was erected to keep out those without tickets. Stereophonics and Coldplay returned, along with appearances from The White Stripes and Mis-teeq.
Moby, Damien Rice, The Darkness and The Damned performed in 2003, which was the fastest-selling Glastonbury to date. The tickets sold out in under 24-hours.
2004 was huge in terms of the line-up it provided. Paul McCartney, Muse, Oasis, James Brown, Franz Ferdinand, Scissor Sisters and Black Eyed Peas all stepped foot on stage at Worthy Farm that year.
The dance tent was relaunched as the dance village in 2005 which showed off eight different venues, including Silent Disco (which is obviously the best). The New Tent was also renamed The John Peel Stage and performers included Basement Jaxx, Babyshambles and James Blunt.
Every fifth year of the festival since 1987 has been the “fallow year” allowing staff and residents surrounding the site a chance to rest. So in 2007 the festival was back with big names such as The Killers, The Who, Arcade Fire, Bjork and Kasabian. Headlining the festival only a year after the release of their debut album were Arctic Monkeys.
Jay-Z faced major criticism before his Saturday night headline spot, with many claiming rap didn’t belong at Glastonbury (safe to say he proved them wrong). The weekend also featured Kings of Leon, a reunion from The Verve and a wonderful secret set from The Last Shadow Puppets.
This year saw the introduction of the ticket deposit scheme and performances included Bruce Springsteen, Nick Cave, The Specials, Lady GaGa, Bon Iver, The Script and Dizzee Rascal. Michael Eavis labelled this as “The best Glastonbury” although he says that a lot.
The 40th anniversary celebrations were one big party with the likes of Stevie Wonder, Gorillaz, Snoop Dogg and Tinchy Stryder gracing the Pyramid stage.
Closing the 2011 festival was Beyonce who become one of only a handful of women lucky enough to headline the festival over the 40 years.
The festival was cancelled in 2012 due to a lack of portaloos and police officers, thanks to the London Olympics. Despite this, Glastonbury was back bigger than ever in 2013 with show stopping headline sets from Arctic Monkeys, The Rolling Stones and Mumford and Sons.
Worthy Farm history was made yet again in 2014 as for the first time metal took over the Pyramid Stage. Metallica faced a lot of criticism when they were announced as headliners, but their set went down a treat.
The mighty Foo Fighters were set to headline the festival in 2015, but after poor old Dave broke his leg, Florence and the Machine had to step in at the last minute. The weekend also saw an insane secret set from the recently regrouped Libertines on the Pyramid Stage.
Some of the biggest acts in the world graced the Pyramid Stage last year. From Coldplay’s stunning tech-colour performance, featuring a moving tribute to the late Viola Beach, to Adele’s powerful ballad filled masterclass; 2016 will be a year to remember for Glastonbury.
This year’s Glastonbury will see Foo Fighters take their rightful place as Saturday night headliners after they were forced to drop out of the 2015 festival (hopefully no broken limbs this time!) Also set to play across the weekend are the likes of chart sensation Ed Sheeran, Radiohead, Royal Blood, The XX, Katy Perry, Biffy Clyro and more.