Rare Glastonbury footage from 1983 has been rediscovered

UB40 as headliners, anyone?

Archive footage of 1983’s Glastonbury Festival has been unearthed – and it’s a far cry from the iconic event’s modern editions.

The footage, which was discovered in the BBC‘s film archives, offers a unique look at the days when Glastonbury cost just £12 to attend.

The iconic frame of the Pyramid Stage is recognisable in the vintage film, but it appears to be covered in corrugated iron. In contrast, the stage is now covered in a massive canvas every year.


Reflecting the festival’s political roots, the 1983 edition also doubled up as a huge rally for the Campaign Against Nuclear Disarmament (CND) – with the group’s logo featuring heavily across Worthy Farm.

As for the 1983 line-up, the video captures a headline performance from UB40 – who took top billing alongside the likes of Marillion, The Beat and Curtis Mayfield.

Meanwhile, a listing for the 1983 event on Glastonbury’s official website explains that it was the first time the festival required an official license to take place.

“1983 called for a licence to be obtained for the event since the introduction of the local Government Act became law, giving local authorities the power to regulate such events by stipulating the conditions. Mendip District Council issued a Public Entertainment Licence which set a crowd limit of 30,000 and went into considerable detail about access roads, water supply, hygiene and so on,” it states.

“It was also the first year that the Festival had its own radio station, Radio Avalon. £45,000 was eventually raised for CND and local charities.”

Since then, Glastonbury has established its reputation as one of the world’s most beloved festivals – with its 50th anniversary taking place next year.


Diana Ross has been confirmed for the festival’s customary Legends Slot, while the likes of Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift, The 1975, Green Day, Madonna and Foals all heavily rumoured for the Glastonbury 2020 line-up.