Bill Harkin, designer of Glastonbury Festival’s Pyramid stage, dies at 83 – Billboard

There are few grander festivals on the calendar than Glastonbury, and no stage can usurp the Pyramid Stage.

Thanks Bill Harkin for that.

Harkin, who died at 83, designed the first-ever Pyramid Stage at Worthy Farm, a platform that has hosted performances by nearly every major artist in the world, from David Bowie to Amy Winehouse, Paul McCartney, U2, Johnny Cash and many others. .

Glastonbury Festival founder Michael Eavis pays tribute to Harkin, whose ideas were so unusual they took a long time to sink in.

“I liked the idea but was a bit wary of the reality, although I was captivated by their childlike excitement,” says Eavis, the dairy farmer who turned a small concert on his property into a world-famous event. with Harkin’s help.

A high-flying architect working for British car launches Leyland, Harkin first came to Glastonbury towards the end of 1970, after the first iteration of the event.

The original stage was erected from scaffolding and plastic sheeting and debuted for the second Glastonbury Festival in 1971.

Several versions of the Pyramid Stage have appeared over the years, one of which burned down shortly before the 1994 festival was held. The current version of the stage was built by local resident Bill Burroughs for the 2000 edition and is four times larger than the 1981 stage, reports the BBC.

“Harkin’s enthusiasm and dedication led to what we have now – thank you so much Bill,” Eavis wrote. “An inspiring life well lived – and simply loved by all of us.”

The first Glastonbury concert featured Marc Bolan on the bill and Eavis offered free milk to the 1,500 ticket holders. Admission was only £1. Things have evolved.

Before the pandemic, the event was one of the largest greenfield festivals in the world, attended by more than 200,000 people each year and raising millions of pounds for charity.

The 50th anniversary edition was supposed to be held in June 2020, but was canceled due to the health crisis. This year’s event was also canceled due to COVID, in what organizers are calling “another forced fallow year”.

Jan G. Gilbert