The V&A and Glastonbury Festival – Sounds bizarre?

June 26, 2014
Hippies and their horse at the first festival
Hippies and their horse at the first festival, 1970, © Glastonbury Festival

If you search the V&A’s collections for ‘Glastonbury’ you get an earthenware bowl, a woollen coat, a pair of chairs by the great 19th-century designer Pugin and some atmospheric photographs of the ruined Abbey. No famous musicians, no maps of stages and loos, no protest posters, no wellies, no mud.

All that is about to change as the world’s oldest and largest museum of art and design becomes the new home for the archive of the world’s longest-running popular music and performing arts festival. Thanks to our blockbuster show on David Bowie last year, that no longer sounds bizarre: the V&A is now known for guitars and glitter as well as silver and ceramics. But the two institutions, as it happens, have much more than Bowie in common. The V&A also grew out of a radical gathering of cultures and creative making (the Great Exhibition of 1851), and it became the first museum to feature a restaurant, artificial lighting and an in-house photo studio. Its founders saw their collections as ‘the true teachers of a free people’–just as Michael Eavis made this festival an enduring and inspiring place for ‘the expression of free-thinking people’.

The Glastonbury Festival archive will help to make the V&A a museum for the 21st Century, and the V&A will help to preserve the legacy of Glasto: they will help new generations of cultural pilgrims to appreciate the powers of imagination and the vitality of ancient ideals.

8 comments so far, view or add yours


I’m surprised you don’t archive the wristbands- the ubiquitous ‘fashion’ accessory of the late 20th-21st C! Some people keep those on for years.

Great idea. Anyone with a photo of theirs?

More power to you V&A! Hopefully in my 50 th year next year (if I have my mobility sorted ) I also will attend & record…

hello V&A, i have attended Glastonbury Festival each year since 1985, and have a collection of memorabilia and ephemera, including phone cards, flyers, news papers, related magazines, even loo roll! would any of it enhance what you already have ? thanks Leigh.

Dear Bill Sherman
I sent this email to a young lady called Kate last week, but had a strong suspicion that it did not send, so am resending just in case:
I was the stills photographer for Nick Roeg’s film of the 1971 Glastonbury Fayre and would like to talk to a curator of the Glastonbury Archive, along with Bill Harkin, the conceiver, designer and builder of the original Pyramid Stage, and John Coleman, the band booker, stage manager and producer of the commemorative triple album of that seminal event.
Between us, we have a wealth of original material pertaining to that festival, ie. Colour transparencies, designs and drawings with original source material and music recordings.
With the recent passing of that festival’s organiser, Andrew Kerr, we are a few of the remaining few, along with of course Michael Eavis, who are cognisant of the facts concerning the advent of The Glastonbury Festivals.
Should you find this of interest, we would be glad to arrange a meeting at a mutually convenient time,
Yours Faithfully
Paul Misso

Dear Mr Misso,

I am researching my Aunt’s family tree and believe that you are closely related. Please can you contact me.
Many thanks

Dear Judy
Long lost family connections are great, but I’m not sure how we can connect through this site, perhaps these curators can help?
Paul Misso

Add a comment

Please read our privacy policy to understand what we do with your data.


Join today and enjoy unlimited free entry to all V&A exhibitions, Members-only previews and more

Find out more


Explore our range of exclusive jewellery, books, gifts and more. Every purchase supports the V&A.

Find out more