Add your memories to the Glastonbury Festival Archive



June 22, 2020

In 2014, the V&A Department of Theatre and Performance became home to the Glastonbury Festival Archive. This is a growing collection of materials tracing the cultural importance of Glastonbury and safeguarding it for posterity. The V&A collaborates with the Glastonbury Festival to archive the past, collect the present and work together on ways of documenting future festivals.

The Festival presents an extraordinary opportunity for the museum to collect and capture a living performance archive and to document and trace its history and influence across 50 years. One of the biggest challenges of archiving the largest greenfield festival in the world is the scale and ephemerality. In 2019, there were over 100 stages at the Festival and the site covered 900 acres!

This year to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Festival, we are inviting festival-goers to contribute to the Glastonbury Archive by sharing their festival memories. These memories will form an important part of the collection, allowing us to map personal experiences to the rich and extensive timeline of the Festival’s history. We are interested in capturing your recollections to help us build and trace the Festival’s development, its impact and its influence.

Please send your written memories to: glastonbury@vam.ac.uk. Tell us which year you attended the Festival, where your memory took place and describe your experience, the performers and its significance. From the Stone Circle to the Circus Tent, the Pyramid Stage to the Left Field, we would love to hear from you.

Glastonbury Free Press poster. Image credit: Kate Bailey
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Comments

Attended the first festival styled as “ Pilton Festival” with a student colleague.
Was met at the gate by Michael Eavis himself. paid the £1 admission fee and was given a pint of milk.
This was my first ever festival with no knowledge of what to expect. Pitched up a tent and wandered around. This was my first experience of “hippy culture”.
The bands appearing included Tyrannosaurus Rex, a replacement for the Kinks. This was to be the final appearance of Tyrannosaurus Rex….on stage they announce the new name of T. Rex and debuted “Ride a White Swan”.

My one and, so far, only Glastonbury was in 1982. We had arrived in the pouring rain on the first day but the remainder of the festival was in glorious sunshine and the mud eventually dried up by the Sunday! My abiding memory is of wandering along the path to the main stage and bumping into Jackson Browne coming the other way. My wife Sarah was awestruck and I boldly approached him and after a brief chat he kindly agreed to me taking a picture of him with Sarah. Sadly the picture has been lost. I do remember Jackson played a wonderful set, with a standout being For A Dancer which he dedicated to the memory of the guitarist from The Pretenders who had just died of a drug overdose.

I first attended the festival in 2017 ppm the advice of my boyfriend who’d been many times before. I’d always been wary of festivals as I’m a nervous character, but wow! Suddenly I’m in this world which is creative, musical, friendly and magical. Glastonbury has obviously grown over its many years but when you’re wandering around amongst it all it doesn’t feel large. It feels like the safest place you’d ever been and creativity pours from every inch. From amazing food, to craft workshops, music on the stages and publicly enjoyed art. I have never loved anywhere more and when I’m there I feel like I’m weightless, not a worry, and I leave the place feeling like I can do anything and love everyone. Sadly that feeling goes when you renter the real world again and get bogged down with normality.
In 2019 I returned to the festival and was lucky enough to to introduce my sister to its wonders and left the festival engaged After my boyfriend preposed to me up one of the many hills.

My parents took me and my older brother to our first Galsto in 1979. I was 16, but it was not my first festival! We wandered around the site all day and saw a great mix of people and music. I remember seeing: The Leighton Buzzards, The Slits and The Pop Group who blew my tiny mind. Walked up the hill to the car park in the dark to get picked up at the end of the day to the sound of Solid Air by John Martyn. Magical.

I went to my first Glastonbury in 2019 having swore to myself festivals weren’t for me, how wrong was I! I took my 7 year old daughter and loved that we found a place we could feel free, safe and loved. Watching her rocking out to Liam Gallagher was definitely a highlight. Until you walk through those gates you have no idea but it is literally the greatest place on earth. Some many wonderful memories, Glastonbury Girls for life x

I went to my first and only Glastonbury in 1994. I remember walking to the local village to buy beer and supplies and lugging it all the way back to camp. We still ran out of camp wood and it was so cold we had to burn tampons (oops sorry environment). Highlight was seeing Rage Against The Machine who were truly amazing.

I attended the very first Glastonbury at Pilton farm 50
Years ago now ! Most of the bands were a mixture of professional but also
Amateur musicians from the colleges and universities some of whom went on to
Become famous themselves as some of my house mates.
Myself and a friend decided to
Hitch down in
The evening before as we had missed our lift due to
Lectures. Both exotically dressed in floor length velvet !! I got lost at one point and was rescued by Farmer Eavis who
Found me crying on
A tumulae and kindly drove me to find my
Friends who were due to
Perform. I
Remember a lot of mud and drizzle but it was wonderful
Fun. On
The way home we were rescued by Lemmy and Hawkwind and given
A lift to
Birmingham we stopped en route for tea but were asked to
Leave due to
Our outlandish dress and the boys long hair , those were the days I now work at the V& A on
The galleries 🌿

Weeks after the tickets went on sale my two sons, then aged 11 and 14 , were still trying to persuade me to take them and two of their friends to the 2002 Glastonbury. Eventually I capitulated making it clear that if I didn’t like it we would be leaving. My husband had refused to “sit in a muddy field with a bunch of hippies “.
Luckily for all of us I completely fell in love with it almost as soon as we walked in. Everyone was friendly and helpful to us, a group of families next to us offered to help us put our tents up and I was pleased to find the horrific stories I had heard about the toilets were an exaggeration- well mostly!
The following year I persuaded my husband to come and we had been to every one until 2017 when our luck ran out and we couldn’t get tickets. This year we were due to do litter picking to earn our tickets……..oh well there’s always next year.

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